Nepal earn thrilling win against CanadaSkipper Paudel’s 4-22 helps the Rhinos restrict the Canadians, who were chasing 225, to 217 in the first ODI.
Nepal defeated Canada by seven runs in the first game of the three-match bilateral one-day international series at the TU Cricket Ground in Kirtipur on Thursday.
Nepal opted to bat first after winning the toss and posted 224 with the help of a half-century from opener Kushal Bhurtel.
In reply, skipper Rohit Paudel took a four-wicket haul and Lalit Rajbanshi picked two wickets to restrict Canada to 217 all out in 47.5 overs for a thrilling victory.
Canada looked comfortable with the bat in their chase and appeared to be cruising towards victory when half-centurians Nicholas Kirton and Pargat Singh, and Harsh Thaker worked together to take them to 174-3.
Monty Desai handed Rijan Dhakal an ODI debut cap and the seamer proved his worth dismissing Canada opener Navneet Dhaliwal for six. Dhaliwal was also making his ODI debut for Canada.
Aaron Johnson opened his innings explosively slamming a six and three boundaries in his 15-ball knock but was trapped leg in front when he was at 20 by Sompal Kami in the sixth over.
Kriton and Singh then built Canada innings with a 79-run stand for the third wicket that put Canada firmly on the track. Their partnership was broken when captain Paudel had Singh caught by Rajbanshi in the 19.4 overs. Singh scored 50 runs off 58 balls, hitting nine fours.
Kriton fought on, forming another half-century stand (60-run) with Thaker for the fourth wicket to take Canada closer to target. Kriton smacked 68 runs in his 99-ball knock that included seven hits to the fences.
But after Kushal Malla bowled Thaker (32 runs off 43 balls) and Pawan Sarraf got rid of Kriton in the 40.4 overs, Canada suddenly ran out of steam.
Canada needed only 30 runs for victory and still had plenty overs but Rajbanshi and Paudel shared the remaining four wickets with their stellar performance to choke the tail as Canada fell seven runs short of the target.
Paudel took 4-22 in this magical 8.5 over spell that also included two maiden overs. Rajbanshi returned the match figures of 2-41.
Surya Tamang also made his international debut in this series.
Earlier, opener Bhurtel’s 68 runs off 58 balls laid the foundation for Nepal’s average total.
Bhurtel and his opening partner Aasif Sheikh added 48 runs for the opening wicket to give Nepal a strong start.
Bhagwan halted their progress removing Aasif (8) in the 10th over. Paudel also departed for a cheap eight in the 15th over, caught by Thaker off Ishwarjot Sohi.
Bhurtel reached his fifty off 44 balls but fell to Canada captain Saad Bin Zafar in the 19th over.
Except Bhurtel, no batter was able to do anything special, with Aarif Sheikh’s 38 runs off 50 balls providing the second highest score for Nepal.
Bhim Sharki (17), Kushal Malla (20), Sarraf (15) all walked back without making any significant contribution.
Debutant Tamang was not out on 10.
Bhagwan was the pick of Canadian bowlers with 3-40 that also included the prized wickets of Aarif and Sompal Kami (27).
Sohi and Zafar pocketed two wickets each.
The second ODI is scheduled for Saturday.