By a Staff Reporter
Kathmandu – Nepal showcased an impressive performance but ultimately succumbed to a 101-run defeat against the four-time world champions, West Indies in a gripping encounter in an ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier at Harare Sports Club.
Invited to bat first, West Indies posted a total of 339/7 in their allotted 50 overs. The West Indian side faced an early setback as both openers fell early.
Nepal’s Karan KC delivered a stunning ball to dismiss Kyle Mayers for just 1 run in 1.3 overs, with Kushal Bhurtel taking a spectacular catch. Gulsan Jha struck next, removing West Indies’ number 3 batsman Johnson Charles for a duck in 4.1 overs. Sandeep Lamichhane joined in, claiming the wicket of Brandon King, who scored 32 runs off 42 deliveries in 15.3 overs.
However, West Indies rallied as skipper Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran forged a sensational double-century partnership. Hope led the charge, smashing 132 runs off 129 balls, including 10 fours and 3 sixes, before Bhim Sharki caught him off Lalit Rajbanshi’s delivery.
Pooran played a brilliant innings, scoring 115 runs off 94 deliveries with 10 fours and 4 sixes. Rovman Powell contributed 29 runs, Keemo Paul added 1 run, while Jason Holder remained unbeaten at 16.
Nepal’s spinner Lalit Rajbanshi stood out among the Nepali bowlers, claiming a commendable 3-52 in his 10 overs. Additionally, Karan KC, Gulsan Jha, Sandeep Lamichhane, and Dipendra Singh Airee each secured a wicket.
In their chase, Nepal was bowled out for 238 runs in 49.4 overs. Aarif Sheikh, batting at number 5, top-scored for Nepal with 63 runs off 93 deliveries, including 4 fours and 1 six.
The early departures of openers Kushal Bhurtel (5) and Aarif Sheikh (28) added to the pressure, while Skipper Rohit Paudel fell for 30 runs. Bhim Sharki and Kushal Malla both departed for 2 runs each, and Dipendra Singh Airee was dismissed for 23. Gulsan Jha contributed 42 runs, Sandeep Lamichhane scored 1 run, and Karan KC added 28 runs. Lalit Rajbanshi remained not out on 0.
Jason Holder shone with the ball, taking the most wickets for West Indies, securing 3 dismissals. Alzaari Joseph, Keemo Paul, and Akeal Hosein claimed 2 wickets each, while Kyle Mayers booked one wicket.
Nepal had previously suffered an 8-wicket loss to Zimbabwe but managed to secure a 6-wicket victory against the United States, resulting in the USA’s elimination from Group A with three consecutive losses.
In their upcoming match, Nepal must defeat the Netherlands on Saturday to advance to the Super Six stage, while the Netherlands will need to suffer a defeat against West Indies in the final match. Failure to defeat the Netherlands would result in Nepal’s elimination from the group stage.