Nepal put on valiant effortNepal put on a valiant effort despite seemingly a heavy 121-run loss against the first choice Pakistani team during their one-off 50-over warm-up cricket match in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Sunday.
Nepal put on a valiant effort despite seemingly a heavy 121-run loss against the first choice Pakistani team during their one-off 50-over warm-up cricket match in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Sunday.
With star cricketers such as Younis Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali and Shoaib Malik in their team, Pakistan made a mammoth 326-4. In reply, the Nepali team led by Paras Khadka scored 205-5 in their 50 overs. The Nepali total was commendable considering that Pakistan boosted a fierce bowling lineup in Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz and Yasi Shah.
Anil Kumar Mandal top scored for Nepal with 61, his 109-ball knock included four hits to the fence and one over it. Vice-captain Gyenendra Malla scored 52-ball 41, while Sagar Pun scored 39 and Subash Khakurel 26. Anwar Ali claimed two wickets while Shah and Riaz claimed one each for the 1992 ICC World Cup champions.
The ICC had managed the game as part of its effort to develop international cricket at all levels. The game also served Nepal as preparation for their ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) matches against Papua New Guinea (PNG) scheduled for Nov 16 and 18, also in the UAE.
Earlier, Pakistan’s total was built by a team effort with their top six batsmen scoring useful runs. Opener Azhar Ali (73) and No 5 batsman Shoaib Malik (63) both retired after hitting fluent half centuries, while Mohammad Hafeez made 49 and Babar Azam an unbeaten 43 off 29 balls. Younis Khan scored 38 and Ahmed Shehzad 35 in Pakistan’s mammoth total. Left-arm spinner Basant Regmi claimed two wickets while skipper Paras Khadka and Sagar Pun took one wicket each for Nepal.
Nepal coach Pubudu Dassayanake said: “It was great experience for our players. We played with confidence. Anil and all top order batted according to the plan.”
Dassanayake said the game has given them a lot of confidence and belief. “Everyone at the top order batted 50 to 70 balls against one of the best teams in the world. That confidence will boost us for the next few months,” he added.
Nepal drew Hong Kong in a two-day match of Friday in Abu Dhabi as they prepare for their PNG matches. It was Nepal’s first 50-over match against a Test-playing nation. Their previous experience of playing a Test nation was Bangladesh but that encounter was in the shortest format during the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Chittagong.