Bhurtel, Paudel half centuries guide Nepal to victory over USAChasing 230, Nepal surpassed the target with an over to spare.
Opener Kushal Bhurtel and Rohit Paudel cracked half centuries for Nepal as they edged USA by five wickets in the One-Day International (ODI) Tri-Series match of the ICC World Cup League 2 at the Al Amerat cricket ground in Oman.
Electing to bat first, the USA posted a moderate total of 230 runs losing nine wickets before Nepal surpassed the target losing five wickets with an over to spare. Bhurtel scored 84 runs and Paudel remained unbeaten on 62 runs.
It was the third victory in a row for Nepal over the USA as they had defeated the same opponents in both ODIs played at the TU grounds in Kathmandu in February last year. In one of the two matches at TU, Nepal had restricted the USA to 35 runs, the lowest ODI total.
Nepal will play their second match of the series against Oman on Tuesday.
The USA rode on a century from opener Monank Patel for the moderate total despite losing the other batsmen at regular intervals. Patel hit nine fours and a six in his 114-ball knock. He was caught by Kushal Bhurtel off Bikram Sob at 46.2 overs.
Nisarga Patel (21 runs), opener Sushan Modani (16 runs), Karima Gore (16 runs), Steven Taylor (14 runs), Nosthush Kejinge, Sanjay Krishnamurthi and Abhishek Paradkar (13 runs each) were other USA batsmen to score in double digits..
Nepali bowlers BIkram Sob, Sandeep Lamichhane and Sushan Bhari took two wickets apiece while Kushal Malla picked one.
In the run chase, openers Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh shared a 66-run stand for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed on 23. Bhurtel, who hit his first ODI half century, hit three boundaries and sixes each in his 93-ball for 84 before being trapped leg before by Nisarg Patel in the first delivery of 33rd over.
Captain Gyanendra Malla was dismissed for 17 runs. Paudel, who came to bat at no 4, after his 41 runs and 86 runs against Papua New Guinea on September 7 and 10, yet again came up with a confident show. He hit two fences and three sixes facing 87 deliveries to remain unbeaten on 62 runs. Binod Bhandari contributed 37 off 48 deliveries.
USA bowler Nosthush Kejige and Patel pocketed two wickets each while Saurabh Netravalkar picked one.
With their third win out of five matches played in the World Cup League 2, Nepal are sixth in the seven-team standings with six points. Oman leads the table with 16 points from 10 matches. Apart from Nepal and the USA, League 2 features Oman, United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Namibia and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Nepal are set to play four matches in Oman, two each against the hosts and USA and 36 ODIs in total by February 2023. The teams that finish in the top three will secure berths at the World Cup Qualifiers while the bottom four will compete in the World Cup Qualifiers playoff set to take place in Zimbabwe in June and July in 2023.