Nepal thump the Netherlands to clinch first T20 titleThe hosts thrashed the Dutch by 142 runs to register their highest run-margin victory in a T20I after the player-of-the-series Bhurtel scored his fourth half-century of the Series.
Hosts Nepal registered their highest-ever run victory in the Twenty20 International to clinch their first shortest format cricket title after they thumped the Netherlands by 142 runs in the final of the Tri-Nation Series at the TU cricket grounds in Kirtipur on Saturday.
The hosts gave continuity to their solid performance with bat as they amassed a mammoth total of 238-3 after being put into bat and restricted the Dutch side to 96 runs in 17.2 overs. The home team collected 81 runs in the last five overs to surpass their previous highest total of 236 runs against Bhutan in December 2019 in South Asian Games (SAG).
It was the highest T20I total at the TU grounds and also the biggest run margin victory for Nepal. The home team had previously defeated Bhutan by 141 runs. Unlike Nepal, the Dutch team also suffered their biggest run defeat as they have previously gone down by 115 runs against Scotland in 2018. It was also the first victory for team Nepal at home turf after 11 years who had previously won the World Cricket League Division 5 in 2010.
Opener Kushal Bhurtel, who marked his T20I debut in the tournament opener, crossed half century milestone for the fourth time in five matches of the tournament. The 25-year-old crowned player-of-the-series also put aside Nepal's long struggle with openers. Bhurtel scored a total of 278 runs in the five innings of the tournament facing 198 balls. The tournament debutant also became the sixth highest T20I scorer for Nepal.
"It is a good feeling that we won the trophy after a long time at home grounds and we were prepared for this," said Bhurtel. "I want to thank my coach and captain that they trusted me and I delivered. My ambition was to give a good start because we have good finishers in the team."
Nepal's skipper Gyanendra Malla said that the way his side played throughout the tournament was quite impressive. "We played positive cricket with a different approach. We played with positive intent in batting, bowling and fielding and the wicket was also favorable," said Malla. "Winning the game as captain when the whole team performs is always sweet. The young players have grabbed the opportunity very well."
Bhurtel scored 77 runs off 53 overs after his opening partner Aasif Sheikh was dismissed for 16 runs from eight deliveries with 30 runs on board. He smashed eight fences and three sixes before he was caught by Pieter Seelaar off Philippe Boissevain in 15.5 overs.
Kushal Malla also reached his first T20I half century remaining unbeaten while Dipendra Singh Airee played a crucial knock of not out 48 runs. Captain Gyanendra Malla was another batsman to play remarkable innings for Nepal.
Bhurtel and Malla shared 57-run stand for the second wicket before the captain was dismissed for 33 off 19. He cracked three fences and two sixes. Bhurtel and Kushal Malla shared 76-run partnership for the third wicket before the former was caught by Seelaar off Bas de Braat in 15.4 overs.
Kushal and Dipendra Singh Airee both played quickfire knocks remaining unbeaten. Kushal smashed two fours and five sixes to score 50 runs off 24 deliveries, Airee cracked five boundaries and three sixes in his 18-ball blitz.
The Netherlands bowler Philippe Boissevain grabbed two wickets in his four over bowling conceding 43 runs. Sebastiaan Braat picked one wicket.
Chasing the big target, the Dutch side came under pressure from the beginning and kept on losing wickets in regular intervals. Opener Max O'Dowd captain Pieter Seelaar and lower middle order Sebastiaan Braat were the only batsmen for the Dutch team to reach double digit figures.
Opener O'Dowd scored 20 off 19 before he was bowled by medium pacer Karan KC. Seelaar contributed 13 off 12 and he was also bowled by KC. Braat remained not out on 26 runs facing 27 deliveries.
KC was the pick of Nepal's bowling, claiming three wickets in his three-over spell. He conceded 11 runs. Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and Kamal Airee bagged two wickets apiece while Abinash Bohara pocketed one.
Lamichhane gave away 26 runs in his four-over bowling while Airee conceded 22 runs in his four over haul.
It was also the first official assignment for Nepal's Australian coach Dav Whatmore who was appointed to the hot seat in December last year. "The way which the boys won was a bit of a surprise. It seemed that they saved their best game for the last match. The Netherlands are a good team and such type of results happen some time."