PNG stun Nepal by three wickets, sweep ODI SeriesThe Rhinos fail to defend their 279-run target in the second one-day international and lose the two-match series 2-0 against the visiting side.
Hosts Nepal faced their second consecutive defeat against Papua New Guinea (PNG) as they fell to a three-wicket defeat to surrender the two-match one-day international series 2-0 despite a century from Dipendra Singh Airee at the TU cricket ground in Kirtipur on Saturday.
Electing to bat first, Nepal posted a challenging total of 278-8 on the back of 105 runs by Airee, who slammed his career's first ODI century. Chasing the target, PNG made 283-7 with eight balls to spare after Chad Soper hit Pawan Sarraf for a six in the fourth delivery of the penultimate over.
PNG had edged Nepal by six runs in the curtain raiser on Friday to claim their first ever victory over Nepal in the ODI. The outcome meant Nepal losing a bilateral series for the first time among four played so far.
Nepal captain Sandeep Lamichhane said that the squad was some 15 to 20 runs short of total. "We should have defended the total but it’s a gut feeling to be at the losing end," said Lamichhane.
"However, we have a young team and we cannot win every game. We are in a learning phase. The thing that matters more is how quickly and strongly we come back."
Lamichhane, who claimed a wicket of Charles Amini in the 13th over, also became the second fastest bowler to reach the 50-wicket mark in ODI from 22 matches. Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis has achieved the same feat from 19 matches.
Nepal coach Pubudu Dassanayake said there were more positives in the team despite defeat. "Though the result is very tough, there are more positives from the game than negatives. The main positive is in batting which is slowly shaping up," he said, adding that he was looking for youngsters to come into the system of his team.
Nepal made a poor start to their innings, losing openers Kushal Bhurtel for a golden duck in the first delivery and Anil Sah for one run in the third over. Dev Khanal and Airee lifted Nepal's innings.
Khanal, who made his ODI debut on Friday, and Airee shared a 129 run stand—Nepal's highest partnership in ODI—for the third wicket, lifting the team total to 3-134 from 2-5. The duo got the better of Nepal's previous best partnership of 104 runs between Rohit Paudel and Aarif Sheikh against the same opponents on Friday.
The 16-year-old Khanal played 86-ball 72 that included four fences and three sixes to score his maiden half century. He was trapped leg before by Charles Amini in the 31st over.
Airee cracked seven fences in his 140-ball knock to become third century scorer for Nepal after former captain Paras Khadka and Paudel, who had smashed 126 runs on Friday, to become highest individual scorer for Nepal in any format of the game. The all-rounder was caught by Chad Soper off Norman Vanua. He reached his half century facing 84 balls and a century from 136 deliveries.
Paudel, Bhim Sharki and captain Sandeep Lamichhane were other major contributors for Nepal with the former scoring 35 off 36. Sharki played 19-ball 26 with a boundary and maximum each before being dismissed by Vanua.
Lamichhane played an unbeaten knock of 24 runs facing nine deliveries. Sompal Kami remained unbeaten on three runs. Pawan Sarraf was out for a golden duck and Aarif Sheikh was dismissed for four runs.
Medium pacer Alei Nao was the pick of PNG bowling claiming four wickets. He conceded 48 runs in his nine-over spell with a maiden over. Vanua pocketed two wickets in his 10-over bowling conceding 64 runs.
PNG also made a shaky start to their run chase after opener Tony Ura and captain Assad Vala were both dismissed by medium pacer Sompal Kami in the second over with 2-9 on board. Ura was caught by Bhurtel on nine runs in the second delivery of the second over and Vala was caught by Sheikh in the next ball.
But opener Lega Siaka contributed 90 runs, the highest scorer of the innings, facing 102 deliveries. He shared a 69-run partnership for the third wicket with Charles Amini, who contributed 35 runs. Amini hit seven fences in his 30-ball knock and was trapped leg before by captain Lamichhane.
Siaka also shared a 110-run stand with Sese Bau for the fourth wicket, the highest partnership for PNG in ODI, before his dismissal. He cracked 12 fences and a six before being bowled by spinner Sarraf in the 33rd over.
Bau contributed 69-ball 38 before being trapped leg before by Sarraf in the 37th over. Riley Hekure was the other major contributor, scoring an unbeaten 48 off 45. He hit three boundaries and two sixes. Chad Soper remained unbeaten on 16 runs while Hiri Hiri and Vanua contributed 13 runs and 11 runs respectively.
Kami claimed three wickets for Nepal in his nine-over spell. He gave away 38 runs in his spell with a maiden over. Sarraf grabbed two wickets in his 8.4 overs. He conceded 45 runs with a maiden over. Lamichhane and Sheikh claimed one wicket each.
Nepal will also host a Tri-nation Twenty20 International series involving Malaysia apart from Nepal and the PNG. The series will kick off on Monday at the TU ground.