Nepal lose to Zimbabwe ‘A’ by six wickets in T20 series openerThe visitors post 182-4 in reply to Nepal’s 181-5 to lead the three-match series 1-0.
Visiting Zimbabwe 'A' registered a comfortable six-wicket victory over hosts Nepal in the three-match Twenty20 cricket series that kicked off at the TU cricket ground on Sunday.
Put into bat first, Nepal posted 181-5 before Zimbabwe made 182-4 with seven balls to spare after captain Tony Munyonga played a quickfire knock of 23-ball 50.
Mohammad Aadil Alam contributed an unbeaten 47, the highest score of the innings for Nepal, while opener Kushal Bhurtel contributed 46 runs.
Despite defeat in the opening match, Nepal captain Sandeep Lamichhane maintained that his side still have chance to win the series. "Everything is possible in the game,” he said. “We need to make proper plans and execute them. Zimbabwe are a very strong side and their skipper played really well."
Nepal made a moderate start with bat losing opener Aasif Sheikh for nine runs in the fifth over with 27 runs on the board. He was caught by wicketkeeper Clive Madande off Luke Jongwe in the fifth over.
But other opener Bhurtel, who hit eight fences in his 31-ball knock, played a 57-run stand for the second wicket with Rohit Paudel before his dismissal.
Bhurtel was caught by Jongwe off Brandon Mavuta. Paudel contributed 26 off 36 comprising two fences and a six. He was caught by Mavuta in a delivery by John Masara.
Dipendra Singh Airee was run out on 28 runs off 13 deliveries. He hit two sixes and a boundary. Alam, who played an unbeaten knock off 47 runs, cracked four fences and three maximums in the 27-ball blitz.
Zimbabwe bowlers Brad Evans, Jongwe, Mavuta and Masara shared one-wicket each.
Zimbabwe made a flying start to their run chase as openers Innocent Kaia and Tadiwanashe Marumani put up a 73-run stand for the first wicket. Kaia, the first wicket to fall, hit 30 off 47 before being dismissed by captain Sandeep Lamichhane in the ninth over. He hit nine fences.
Marumani and captain Munyonga, both of whom scored a half century each, shared 72-run partnership for the second wicket creating a base for victory. The duo combined for 26 runs in the 11th over smashing two maximums each to Lamichhane.
Munyonga, the second wicket to fall, departed for 50 runs smashing seven sixes before he was caught and bowled by Basir Ahamad with 145 runs on board. Munyonga was named player-of-the-match. Marumani contributed 56 off 41 comprising three fences and sixes each. He was caught by Lamichhane off Karan KC.
Madane contributed eight runs while Kudzai Manuze and Roy Kaia were not out on eight runs and six runs, respectively.
Basir Ahamad pocketed two wickets for Nepal in his 3.5 overs spell conceding 22 runs. Lamichhane and Karan KC picked one wicket each. Lamichhane, however, was the most expensive bowler conceding 50 runs in his four-over spell. KC gave away 35 runs in his three-over bowling.
Zimbabwe captain Munyonga ruled out that it was an easy win for his side. "We played a comparatively better game than Nepal,” he said. “We had thought Nepal could reach 200 runs but our bowlers performed really well."
The second T20 is scheduled for Monday.
Nepal are hosting Zimbabwe 'A' for a three-match T20 and One-day series to fine tune their preparations for the upcoming Triangular Series of the ICC World Cup League 2 to be held in the USA from June 6 to 16.