Nepal secure hard-fought win over Papua New GuineaMiddle order Rohit Paudel scores 41 runs off 65 deliveries to claw a win for Gyanendra Malla’s men, who were reeling at 7-82 in their chase for 135.
Nepal registered a hard-fought two-wicket win over Papua New Guinea (PNG) after a dramatic batting collapse in the first of the two-match One-Day International (ODI) Series at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Oman on Tuesday.
Losing the toss, Nepal bowled first and restricted PNG at 134 runs in 33 overs after leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane shone with the ball claiming four wickets. Chasing the target, Nepal scored 135-8 in 39.3 overs after middle order batsman Rohit Paudel contributed 41 runs.
With the outcome, Nepal lead the series 1-0 played to fine-tune the team's preparation for Tri-Nation Series of the ICC World Cup League 2.
Nepal kept PNG under pressure from the beginning, taking wickets at a regular interval. Medium pacer Bikram Sob made a dream ODI debut as he bowled out opener Tony Ura for one run in the first ball of second over, his very first ball of the innings. Sob also became the first Nepali player to grab a wicket on first ball at ODI debut and 28th in world cricket overall.
Sob, who pocketed two wickets, then removed Ashad Vala as the second wicket in the last ball of the fourth over with the score of nine runs on board. Open Lega Siaka, the highest scorer for PNG with 30 runs under his belt, shared a 50-run partnership for the third wicket with Charles Amini. Both Amini and Siaka departed at 59 runs.
Amini, who contributed 23 runs from as many deliveries, was caught behind by wicketkeeper Aasif Sheikh off Lamichhane while Siaka was caught and bowled by Kushal Malla as the fourth wicket in 12.5 overs.
The opener cum wicketkeeper Aasif was the other of three ODI debutants from Nepal players including his opening pair Kushal Bhurtel.
Middle order batsmen Sese Bau (14 runs), Kiplin Doriga (15 runs) and Gaudi Toka (22) and Chad Soper (not out 17 runs) were the other PNG batsmen to score double-digit figures.
Lamichhane was the most successful bowler claiming four wickets in his 10-over delivery conceding 35 runs. Sob and Malla grabbed two wickets apiece while Sompal Kami pocketed one. Sob gave away 20 runs with a maiden over in his five-over delivery while Malla conceded 19 runs in his seven over bowling with a maiden over.
In the run chase, debutant ODI openers Bhurtel and Aasif failed to repeat the magical performance they had made in their T20I debut series during Tri-Nation Cup played in April in Kirtipur. The duo has shared two century partnerships out of five matches played.
They shared a 46-run partnership for the first wicket before Bhurtel departed for 15 runs after he was trapped leg before by Chad Soper in 11.1 overs. He hit two fours in his 28-ball knock. Aasif contributed 30 runs off 46 before he was caught by Gaudi Toka in Damien Ravu delivery. He hit four fences. Captain Gyanendra Malla was caught by wicketkeeper Kiplin Doriga in Ravu's delivery with 60 runs on board.
Nepal's middle order collapse began after the departure of Malla, as they lost next four wickets scoring 22 runs with 7-82 on board. But Rohit Paudel, who came to bat at No 5, rescued Nepal by contributing the highest 41 runs. Paudel and Sompal Kami combined for 52 runs for the eighth wicket ensuring victory for Nepal.
Paudel scored 41 runs off 65 deliveries that included two fours before he was sent to the pavilion in 39.2 overs. He was caught by wicketkeeper Doriga off Gaudi Toka as the score got tied at 134. Kami remained unbeaten scoring 22 off 32 with a four and a six.
Toka was the most successful bowler for PNG claiming three wickets in his 4.3-over haul. He gave away 18 runs with a maiden over. Ravu and Soper pocketed two wickets each.
The second ODI will be played on Friday.