By a Staff Reporter
Kathmandu – Half centuries from Rohit Kumar Poudel and Aarif Sheikh helped Nepal defeat Papua New Guinea (PNG) during their ICC World Cup League-2 Tri-series ODI match on Wednesday. Nepal beat PNG by two wickets to grab two crucial points.
Nepal, chasing a modest target of 205 runs for victory, reached the target in 49.2 overs losing 8 wickets. Unbeaten Rohit Kumar Poudel contributed the maximum 54 runs off 82 balls including four boundaries for Nepal. Aarif Sheikh scored 53 runs off 84 balls. It was his first ODI half century while it was the fourth of Poudel.
Nepal were in need of 5 runs from the last six balls. In the first ball of the last over, Nepal were granted four runs for leg bye. In the next ball, Karan KC scored a six to ensure Nepal’s victory. KC was unbeaten on quickfire 29 runs off 25 balls which included 1 boundary and two sixes.
Earlier, Aarif Sheikh and Rohit Kumar Poudel played a record 102 run-partnership for the fifth wicket. The duo have become Nepal’s first two players to play a century partnership in ODI. Prior to this, Aasif Sheikh and Gyanendra Malla held the record of highest partnership of 95 runs for the second wicket during Nepal’s match against Oman about five months ago.
During Wednesday’s match, Nepal had a bad start losing opener Kushal Bhurtel in the first ball of the second over. Former captain Gyanendra Malla was also sent to the pavilion for LBW in the fourth ball of the third over. Nepal was struggling at 24-3 after its major batsman Dipendra Singh Airee fell victim to a catch out with just 8 runs. Aasif Sheikh was stumped out in the 15th over with just 16 runs.
At one point, Nepal were struggling at 42-4 when Aaarif Sheikh and Rohit Kumar Poudel steered Nepal’s innings. PNG’s Norman Vanua, Riley Hekure and Alei Nao took two wickets each.
Earlier, PNG opted to bat first after winning the toss and scored 204 runs in 50 overs losing 8 wickets.PNG’s Charles Amini topscored 59 runs off 82 balls. His innings included 7 fours.
Nepal’s fast bowler Sompal Kami took three wickets while spinner Sandeep Lamichhane took 1 wicket.
Nepal will now play their second match against the hosts Oman on Friday.
Oman have registered 17 wins and 8 losses from 27 matches and are on the top position with 36 points. The UAE are second with 18 points from 15 matches including 8 wins and 5 losses. Scotland (7 wins and 3 losses from 12 matches) are third with 16 points followed by the USA in fourth position with 14 points from 16 matches (7 wins and 9 losses). Namibia are fifth with 12 points from 13 matches (6 wins and 7 losses) while Nepal have climbed to sixth with 10 points from 9 matches including 5 wins and 4 losses. Papua New Guinea are at the bottom with 14 losses from 14 matches.
March 18: Nepal Vs UAE, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
March 21: Nepal Vs UAE, Dubai
March 22: Nepal Vs Papua New Guinea, Dubai