Lack of experience and poor batting sees Nepal lose for the first time in the first-class arenaMarylebone Cricket Club thrashed Nepal by 208 runs as the top and middle-order failed to impress.
Day three of Nepal’s only first-class match in the Nepal Legacy Tour saw visiting Marylebone Cricket Club thump the home team by 208 runs on Friday. Nepal struggled to bat against a more experienced and disciplined bowling performance by Marylebone in both their innings. Nepal were playing a three-day match after a 14-year hiatus.
Marylebone started the day at 91-2 before declaring their second innings at 181-6 in 36 overs. Chasing a daunting target of 393 runs to win, after Nepal were bowled out for 153 in reply to Marylebone’s first innings total of 364, the hosts never really appeared in command. They were eventually bowled out at a paltry 184 after tea. Nepali batsmen yet again failed to deliver in front of a home crowd at the TU grounds in Kirtipur.
“It was a new experience for us,” said Nepal skipper Gyanendra Malla, who made his first-class debut in the match. “We lost quick wickets in both the innings, which made it difficult for us to make a comeback.”
Malla who was out for a duck in the first innings was the first wicket to fall for Nepal in the last day as well. He had scored six runs before being trapped leg-before wicket by Chris Wright in the fifth over. Nepal’s top and middle-order did not have any answer to the medium-pace bowling of Oliver Hannon-Dalby as the English all-rounder picked five wickets to dismantle Nepal cheaply.
After opener Raju Rijal's departure at 31 runs, Nepal found themselves at 52-2 in 10.4 overs. The hosts then lost their next five wickets adding only 26 runs and struggling at 78-7. After the quick departure of Sharad Vesawkar (15), Dipendra Singh Airee, Binod Bhandari and Pawan Sarraf — all three— were out for a duck. Aarif Sheikh contributed 19 runs while Sompal Kami and Karan KC added 46 runs for the eighth wicket.
When KC made his long way back to the pavilion after scoring 18 runs in the 31st over, Nepal still needed 269 runs to win. Kami and Sandeep Lamichhane then saved Nepal’s blushes from defeat by a larger margin as the pair added 50 runs for the ninth wicket.
Lamichhane (25) who clubbed two sixes and hit a four was found leg-before wicket in the 39th over. Kami, who top-scored for Nepal with 51 runs, was the last wicket to fall for Nepal as the hosts’ innings wrapped up at 184 runs.
On the other side, Hannon-Dalby was well supported by Alex Thompson who picked three wickets while Miles Hammond and Wright had one each to their names.
Earlier, continuing the day at 91-2, Marylebone declared their second innings as Yasir Arafat (12) and Alexander Spencer (6) remained unbeaten. Will Rhodes, who has been amongst the runs for the visitors throughout the tour, scored 30 while Billy Godleman added 39. Hammond (11), Tom Westley (34), William Vanderspar (6) and Ed Young (31) were the other contributors for Marylebone. Karan KC was the pick of the Nepali bowlers as he grabbed three wickets with Kami and Sarraf sharing a wicket apiece.
Marylebone had put on 364 runs after being put to bat in their first innings but Nepal failed to meet the requirement of 173 runs to avoid a follow on as they were bowled out 20 runs short. The visitors chose not to impose the follow on card and decided to bat again. It was Nepal’s first loss in the first-class arena as they had won two and drawn two in their previous four matches.
Despite the defeat, Malla appreciated Nepal’s improved bowling performance in the latter stages of the match.
“Fast bowlers did well in the second and the third day in comparison to the first. However, as our top-order collapsed, we could not bat well. The tailenders supported all-rounder Sompal well today. There are a lot of positives,” he said.
Arafat, a key member of the ‘home of cricket’ club, was also very appreciative of the Nepal crowd.
“As it is my first tour of Nepal, it was a memorable experience. I'm sure with the passage of time, Nepal will improve and get better in the longer format of the game,” said Arafat. “In addition to the spinners, Nepal’s fast bowlers are really good as well. We saw that they can bowl long spells and in the right areas consistently.”
Arafat, who was a member of the Pakistan squad that won the Twenty20 World Cup in 2009, recommended a lot of out-door training and club cricket.
Nepal skipper Malla said that the entire match could be taken as part of a learning process.
“The result could have been better but we saw gradual improvement in the second and the third day in comparison to the opening day of the match,” he said. “Our takeaway is in terms of patience and temperament.”