Nepal finished third in the five-nation series in Oman after a six-wicket defeat against the hosts in the last match on Thursday. Nepali side were bowled out for a paltry 64 runs before Oman completed the chase for the loss of four wickets with 49 balls to spare.
At the Al Amerat cricket ground in Oman, Nepal were asked to bat first after losing the toss but struggled dearly against Omani bowlers. Nepal lost openers Ishan Pandey and Paras Khadka for cheap. Pandey made two runs and Khadka five as wickets began to tumble in regular intervals.
Aarif Sheikh and vice-captain Dipendra Singh Airee were the only batsmen to score in double digits for Nepal. While Sheikh scored 20 runs, Airee added 11. Aamir Kaleem was the pick of the bowlers for Oman as he picked five wickets and Bilal Khan grabbed two.
Defending the meagre score, Oman made a nervy start losing four wickets when they had managed just 27 runs on the board as Karan KC picked two and Sompal Kami and Sandeep Lamichhane shared a wicket each.
However, a 30-ball 42 blitz by Suran Kumar ensured Oman the victory with much ease. Wins in all four matches meant Oman finished at the top of the table to claim the series. Ireland finished second with three wins and a loss bagging six points, two points ahead of Nepal.
Earlier, Nepal had won their opening match of the five-nation series against Hong Kong after a half-century by Binod Bhandari ensured them the four-wicket victory on Sunday. Bhandari’s 58 runs from 48 balls helped Nepal reach the 126 runs target in the penultimate over.
Bowlers Karan KC and Sandeep Lamichhane shone in Nepal’s second match against the Netherlands as they registered the second victory on Monday. Chasing 134 runs for a win, KC scored 31 late in the innings while Bhandari and Khadka contributed 26 and 33 each as Nepal won by four wickets. KC and Lamichhane claimed four wickets each in the match.
In their third match against Ireland on Wednesday, Paul Stirling scored 59 runs as Ireland posted a 146-run target for Nepal. Despite a good start, the middle-order collapse saw Nepal suffer a 13-run defeat. Aarif Sheikh was the top scorer with 26 runs followed by skipper Khadka with 25.
The five-nation series was planned as a warm-up for Global Qualifiers slated for October-November in the United Arab Emirates. Nepal failed to secure a berth for the ICC World Twenty20 Asia Regional Qualifying tournament in Singapore as they failed to live up to expectations and win the Qualifier. Only the winner were guaranteed for a place in the Global Qualifier and instead, favourites Nepal finished third in the tournament. They lost to Qatar and hosts Singapore. Singapore won the tournament and secured their berth at the UAE leg of the Qualifier. The defeat in the tournament also put to bed Nepal’s aspirations of playing in next year’s Twenty20 World Cup.