Nepal lose to the Netherlands despite a big totalNepal posted a mammoth 206 runs but the Dutch team reached the target with three balls to spare after Bas de Leede scored an unbeaten 81 runs.
Hosts Nepal succumbed to a three-wicket defeat against the Netherlands in the Tri-Nation Series after they failed to defend one of their biggest totals in the Twenty20 International match at the TU cricket grounds in Kirtipur on Tuesday.
Electing to bat first, Nepal posted 206-6, their second highest T20I total, on the back of half centuries from opener Kushal Bhurtel and Dipendra Singh Airee. Chasing the target, the Dutch team made 209-7 with three balls to spare after middle order batsman Bas de Leede scored an unbeaten 81 runs. It was also the highest successful T20I run chase for the Netherlands who had previously made 193 chasing 189-run target against Ireland.
Nepal were 30 runs short of their highest T20I total as they had scored 236 against Bhutan during the South Asian Games T20 cricket in December 2019.
Nepal, who had defeated the same opponents by nine-wickets in the Series opener on Saturday, saw their winning hopes evaporate after they conceded 39 runs in the 18th and 19th over when the Dutch side required 45 runs from 18 balls.
Spinner Sandeep Lamichhane conceded 20 runs in the 18th over and Abinash Bohara conceded 19 runs in the following over at the empty TU Stadium as the spectators were denied entry into the game owing to the ongoing surges in Covid-19 cases.
"We have learned from the defeat against Nepal and taken positives out of that. It's a great feeling to win," said the man-of-the-match De Leede. "Still there are lots of things to learn from today and take them into the next game to be even better."
Playing without a crowd, he said: "We came to Nepal expecting a big crowd and it is disappointing to not be able to play in front of them. But we are still here to play and win the game."
Earlier, Nepal's opener Bhurtel scored 62 runs off 46 deliveries. It was his third half century in a row after his T20I debut against the Netherlands on Saturday. In his first match, the 25-year-old had scored 62 runs and against Malaysia on Monday. He scored unbeaten 61 runs against Malaysia.
Bhurtel on Tuesday cracked eight fences and a six but his opening partner Aasif Sheikh, who had also completed half centuries in the last two matches, was out for a duck. Bhurtel reached his half century facing 41 deliveries.
Captain Gyanendra Malla who came to bat at number three departed for 20 runs off 14. Bhurtel and Airee played a 78-run partnership for the third wicket before the former was caught by Paul van Meekeren in 14.3 overs.
Airee, the other major contributor for Nepal, played a quickfire knock of 60 runs from 30 deliveries. He hit three boundaries and five sixes before he was caught by Tobias Visee off Pieter Seelaar in 15.3 overs. Kushal Malla contributed 18 runs off seven. Binod Bhandari remained unbeaten with seven runs while Sompal Kami scored not out 21 runs off 13.
The Netherlands bowler Vivian Kingma and Pieter Seelaar grabbed two wickets apiece. Kingma conceded 44 runs in his four-over bowling while Seelaar gave away 37 runs in his four over haul. De Leede and Aryan Dutt also pocketed one wicket each.
In the run chase, the Dutch side lost their openers Max O'Dowd and Tobias Visee for nine and 15 runs. O'Dowd, who had scored unbeaten 133 runs against Malaysia, was trapped leg before by Lamichhane and Visee was stumped by wicketkeeper Binod Bhandari off the leg spinner.
But Ben Cooper and De Leede led the fearless fightback for the Dutch team. Cooper smashed 55 runs off 35 deliveries and shared a 68-run stand for the third wicket with De Leede. He cracked 10 boundaries before he was caught by Airee off Lamichhane.
The man-of-the-match De Leede played an unbeaten 81 runs off 42 that included seven fences and five sixes. Skipper Seelaar made a remarkable contribution of 31 runs off 15 deliveries. He hit Lamichhane for sixes in the first three balls of the 18th over. He collected two runs in the following delivery before being caught by captain Malla.
De Leede hit sixes to Abinash Bohara in the first and last ball of the penultimate over and boundary in the fifth ball. He hit two boundaries to Karan KC in the second and third ball of the last over to win the match.
Lamichhane pocketed four wickets in his four overs, conceding 48 runs. Karan KC, Bohara and Kushal Malla claimed one wicket each.
Nepal's skipper Gyanendra Malla was full of praise for the opponents. "The credit for the victory also goes to the way they batted. The game could have been tight had we conceded below six runs in a couple of overs," he said adding that his side batted as expected.