Nepal open Tri-Nation T20I Series with victoryThe Rhinos, who faced a 2-0 ODI Series whitewash against PNG, post 183-9 before bowling out the Barramundis for 168 runs to secure a 15-run win.
Hosts Nepal recovered from a 2-0 One-Day International series whitewash by Papua New Guinea (PNG) inflicting them a 15-run defeat in the curtain raiser of the Tri-Nation Twenty20 International Series at the TU cricket ground in Kirtipur on Monday.
Put to bat first, Nepal posted a challenging total of 183-9 on the back of collective effort by batters. In bowling, pacer Karan KC grabbed two wickets in the 18th over including a prized wicket of Norman Vanua, the highest scorer for PNG, in the penultimate over as PNG were bowled out for 168 runs with four balls to spare.
"We needed one wicket in the late stage and KC used his experience which changed the whole match scenario," said Nepal captain Sandeep Lamichhane after the game.
Lamichhane added that his side were still 10-15 runs short in the total. "It was a good wicket to bat. Though we scored a decent total, we were still 10-15 runs short today. There are few areas of improvement in bowling and it is good to start with a win. Everyone has the same dream of winning the Series."
PNG will play Malaysia Tuesday in the second match of the series that will be played in the double round robin league format. The top two sides at the completion of league will vie in the final.
Opener Aasif Sheikh contributed 43 off 35 for Nepal, the highest of the innings after his opening pair Kushal Bhurtel departed for 20 runs. Bhurtel hit three fences and a maximum in his 11-ball blitz before he was run out in the third over with 25 for one on board.
Bhurtel also became the fourth batter from Nepal to reach the 500 runs milestone after former captain Paras Khadka (799) and Gyanendra Malla (748), and Dipendra Singh Airee (782). He has scored 518 runs from 12 matches.
But Aasif and Rohit Paudel gave the momentum to Nepal sharing an 80-run stand for the second wicket. Aasif hit five boundaries and a six before he was caught by wicketkeeper Simon Atai off Alei Nao with 105 for two on board.
Paudel, named in the T20I squad on Monday, contributed 26-ball 34 that included two fences and a six before he was caught by Atai off Chad Soper. Aarif Sheikh was the other major contributor scoring 31 off 22. He cracked three fences and two sixes before he was caught by Sese Bau off Soper.
Kushal Malla and Karan KC were other players to contribute in double digits scoring 11 runs and 14 runs respectively. Dipendra Singh Airee departed for four runs, Lokesh Bam for five runs and Sompal Kami for one run. Captain Sandeep Lamichhane remained not out on one run.
PNG bowlers Nao, Soper and Charles Amini grabbed two wickets apiece while Norman Vanua and Riley Hekure picked one wicket each.
In the run chase, PNG kept losing wickets on regular intervals and were 100-7 at the completion of the 13th over before Norma Vanua led the fightback. He played a quickfire knock of 29-ball 52 as PNG seemingly looked to be heading toward victory.
But pacer KC, left out from the ODI series, trapped Vanua leg before in the fifth delivery of the penultimate over to pour cold water on their ambitions. He hit five fences and six maximums.
Middle order batter Sese Bau contributed 30 ball 24 that comprised of three fences and a six. He was trapped leg before by captain Lamichhane. Charles Amini and opener Lega Siaka were the other remarkable scorers for PNG contributing 21 runs and 22 runs respectively from 10 deliveries each. Chad Soper remained unbeaten on 13 runs.
KC and captain Lamichhane shared three wickets each while Abinash Bohara pocketed two wickets. The player-of-the-match Lamichhane conceded 22 runs in his four-over spell and KC gave away 44 runs in his four-over bowling. Bohara conceded 29 runs in his four-over hurl.
Nepal coach Pubudu Dassanayake said he would not take the upcoming matches lightly despite victory. "It is good to win in the beginning and it is a long tournament. There are also a lot of areas we need to improve," he said.
"We have a young side and they have not played leading roles both in batting and bowling in the past. Those things have to be settled. But overall I am happy with the way things are shaping up," he added.
Nepal had lost two-match ODI series by six runs and three wickets against PNG on Friday and Saturday respectively at the same venue.