Nepal-US match ends in dramatic tie Kuwait dent Nepal’sThe game is drawn after the hosts post 274 runs in 50 overs in their chase of 275-run target set by the Rhinos.
Although the second match between Nepal and host US at the US Triangular Series of the ICC World Cup League 2 finished in a dramatic last ball tie in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, the outcome was 'similar to defeat' for the home team while the visitors' celebration looked like they had 'won the match.'
"I am disappointed with the loss today. It’s a tie, but I feel like it’s a kind of loss for us," said the US captain Monank Patel after the match.
But for his opposite number—Nepal skipper Sandeep Lamichhane—the outcome gave a mixed feeling. "Not that we are victorious. But the situation when the opponents required one run from the last ball and the way we stopped them is similar to victory," said Lamichhane.
However, the outcome led both Nepal and the US to share a point each.
The US required 15 runs from the last three overs in their 275-run chase at the flat pitch of Moosa Stadium in Pearland. In the 48th over, medium pacer Mohammad Aadil Alam, marking his One-Day International debut, conceded three singles as the home team required run-a-ball 12 from the last two overs.
Allrounder Karan KC, who bowled the penultimate over, gave away six runs that included two wides. Alam, not even included in the 14-man squad against Oman on Thursday, was assigned to bowl the last over. The 18-year-old conceded singles in the first three deliveries, but in the following delivery he hurled no ball as the US got a one-run bonus and the ball counted invalid. He then gave away a single in the next ball with scores tied on 274.
The US required one run from the last two deliveries to pull off victory. But batter Aaron Jones was caught at mid-wicket by Rohit Kumar Paudel. The home team could still have pulled the possible victory with a single from the last delivery, but batter Rahul Jariwala was run out as KC stopped his stroke at mid-off and hurled the ball in a blink of an eye towards Dipendra Singh Airee. Allrounder Airee reacted quickly to stump him prompting a wild celebration from Nepali team and a few hundreds of supporters.
"There was pressure to bowl the last over. But he (Lamichhane) put faith in me and backed me to bowl. I tried my game. Though it was my ODI debut, I have played few practice matches and was confident of myself," Alam said.
Nepal's biggest total of League 2
Electing to bat first, Nepal were bowled out with two balls to spare at 274 runs, their biggest ever total of the League 2, on the back of half centuries by opener Aasif Sheikh, Dev Khanal and Rohit Paudel. The wicketkeeper batter Sheikh, rested in the first match against Oman on Thursday owing to injuries, played 70-ball 61 that included six hits to fences.
Sheikh shared a 56-run stand for the opening wicket with Kushal Bhurtel (19 runs), also dropped against Oman due to injury. He then played a 62 run partnership for the second wicket with Khanal before being caught on silly mid off by Camero Stevenson off Saurabh Netravalkar with 2-118 on board.
Khanal and Paudel shared a 60-run partnership for the third wicket before the former was dismissed. Khanal hit 69-ball 54 that comprised three boundaries and a six. He was caught by Gajanand Singh off Rusty Theron with 3-178 on board.
Vice captain Paudel contributed 62 runs, the highest score for Nepal, hitting three boundaries and a six. He was caught by Theron at mid off in a delivery by Ali Khan with 4-243 in the 44th over. Alam also contributed 36 runs with bat in his 24-ball knock.
But Nepal lost the remaining six wickets cheaply for just 31 runs with four balls to spare. Captain Lamichhane was the other batter to contribute in double digit for Nepal scoring ball-a-run 10.
"The way we were batting, we thought we could at least put 300 runs on board. But unfortunately we lost (second half) wickets like cards. This is one of the areas where we have to learn to finish the game," captain Lamichhane said.
Theron was the pick of US bowling claiming four wickets in his 9.2 overs spell. He conceded 56 runs. Ali Khan and Netravalkar picked two wickets each.
Nepal made three changes in the starting lineup in comparison to their last match against Oman which they lost by 13 runs. They brought in openers Aasif Sheikh, Kushal Bhurtel and Alam in place of Subash Khakurel, Sunil Dhamala and Binod Bhandari.
200 runs partnership for US and missed catches
The hosts lost opener Sushant Modani for 17 runs, but his opening pair Steven Taylor and captain Patel shared a 200-run partnership for the second wicket. Taylor clobbered 114 off 123 to score his career's first ODI century. He cracked 11 fences and three sixes.
Both of them could have departed early before they got lifeline. Patel was dropped on seven runs by Kushal Bhurtel and Taylor was dropped on 33 runs at boundary by Sagar Dhakal.
Patel contributed 85 runs facing 115 deliveries. He struck four fences and two sixes before he was caught behind in the 42nd over by substitute wicketkeeper Binod Bhandari off Lamichhane with 2-226 on board. Bhandari came as replacement to Aasif after he sustained a thigh injury while fielding.
Taylor was the third batter to be dismissed for the US as he was caught by Lamichhane in Alam's delivery with 2-237 runs on board. Jones contributed 26 runs and Rahul Jariwala 10 runs for the US.
"Considering the way we started the innings today, we could have easily finished the game in 48th or 49th overs. The turning point, I think, was my wicket and Steven Taylor’s wicket. One of us should have batted till at least 45 or 46th overs," lamented US captain Patel. "The way Taylor batted today was brilliant and the team should have won for him today."
Alam was the most successful player with the ball for Nepal claiming three scalps. He gave away 45 runs in his nine-over bowling. Sompal Kami and Lamichhane picked one wicket each.
Important one point
Nepal's coach Pubudu Dassanayake said that the one point they shared against the US could be important. "We were exposed in batting, bowling and fielding. The one point we earned could be important moving forward because this can be the difference when we finish the League 2 cycle," said Dassanayake.
"We could not finish the way we wanted. We have a young team and we have to learn to be at the next level. Lots of credit to US bowlers for the way they fought back and bowled depth over," he added.
Oman lead the seven-team standing on 42 points from 34 matches. The US are fourth on 21 points from 22 matches while Nepal are sixth with 13 points from 14 games. The top three teams at the end of the Series will directly qualify for the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers in June and July and top five teams will retain the ODI status. The bottom four will have to go through a playoff involving six teams for a place in Qualifiers. Each team will play 36 matches at the end of the league.
Nepal are set to take on Oman in the second leg on Tuesday and Oman on Wednesday before wrapping up the US Series.