Rohit Kumar Poudel’s century went in vain as Nepal lost their ODI match against Papua New Guinea (PNG) at home ground by six runs on Friday.
Chasing a mammoth target of 293 runs for victory, Nepal fell short of the target by just 6 runs as the home side managed to score 286 runs in 50 overs losing 8 wickets.
Poudel’s record innings of 126 runs off 107 balls was not enough to secure victory as Nepal lost the match by a small margin. He scored 7 boundaries and 4 sixes as his score outshined the record of former captain Paras Khadka, who held the record of 115 runs against the UAE in 2019. He also became the second Nepali cricketer to score an ODI century.
It was also Nepal’s highest score in ODI. Prior to this, Nepal had scored the maximum 255 runs against the UAE in 2019. It was also Nepal’s first defeat against PNG in ODI.
Nepal were in need of 10 runs from the last six balls. PNG’s Norman Bhanua gifted three runs to Nepal. Sompal Kami played a dot in the fourth ball which meant Nepal were in need of 8 runs from the last two balls. He then scored a single run in a long-off attempt, effectively ending Nepal’s quest as they needed 7 runs from the last ball.
Poudel also had another record to his name.
Poudel played a record-breaking 104-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Aarif Sheikh, who bowled out by Assad Vala with his personal score of 34 runs off 64 balls.
It is the highest partnership for a century stand by any Nepali pair so far.
Prior to this, Nepal’s best was a 100-run partnership for the fifth wicket against PNG during which the two players were at the crease.
PNG’s Charles Amini made a one-had catch to send Poudel to the pavilion in the 46th over.
Nepal’s opener Anil Shah, who returned back in action after 2018, was dismissed cheaply as Sese Bau caught him off Norman Bhanua with the batsman scoring just a boundary from 21 balls. Dev Khanal, who made his debut for the national team, was out for a duck in the 9th over. Kushal Bhurtel was bowled out in the 10th over with his personal score of 32 runs. Nepal’s middle order batsman Dipendra Singh Airee also followed suit with his person score of 15 runs. Nepal was in a difficult situation until Poudel and Sheikh steered the innings with the century stand for the fifth wicket.
Nepal’s tailenders Bhim Sarki and Pawan Saraf were out for 17 and 7 runs respectively. PNG’s Norman Bhanua took three wickets while Charles Amini and Assad Vala took two each.
Earlier, PNG who were invited to bat first at the TU Cricke Ground, scored 292 runs riding on two half centuries and aggressive batting by Norman Bhanua. PNG played 50 overs losing 8 wickets.
This is the highest score posted by PNG in ODI matches. In doing so, PNG have also become the team to score maximum runs against Nepal.
Prior to this, the UAE had scored 254 runs against Nepal in their third ODI match in 2019, which was the maximum runs against Nepal until PNG broke the record on Friday. During the occasion, Paras Khadka scored a record century innings of 115 runs to meet the target in 44.4 overs losing 6 wickets.
Meanwhile, PNG’s earlier record of maximum ODI runs was 264 against Hong Kong achieved in 2014.
PNG’s middle order batsman Charles Amini scored 77 runs off 103 balls that included 6 boundaries and a six to help the team post the huge score. It was also his personal best in international career.
Aarif Sheikh gave him a lifeline with a catch drop in the 45th over while he had managed to score 70 runs. Tailender Norman scored a quickfire 47 runs off 28 balls that included 4 boundaries and 3 sixes.
PNG Captain Assad Bhala also contributed crucial 60 runs off 55 balls to help the team garner the big total.
Dipendra Singh Airee, Kamal Singh Airee and Sompal Kami took 2 wickets each while Sandeep lamichhane and Pawan Saraf took a wicket each.