Nepal lose to PNG in last-over thrillerNepal lost to Papua New Guinea (PNG) by two wickets in the first of their two matches of the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Nepal lost to Papua New Guinea (PNG) by two wickets in the first of their two matches of the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Electing to bat first at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Nepal rode on half centuries from Sharad Vesawkar and Subash Khakurel to score a respectable 233-8 in 50 overs. Nepal were already sniffing victory reducing PNG to 138-6 but a fine innings from Assad Vala guided them to 235-8 with three balls to spare. The defeat pushed Nepal to the bottom of the eight-team tournament that sends the top six teams into the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers to be held in Bangladesh. PNG, meanwhile, registered their first win of the tournament to be played over seven rounds.
Two wickets each from skipper Paras Khadka and Mehboob Alam helped Nepal reduce PNG to 97-4 before Vala staged a fightback. Vala shared 37 runs with Mahuru Dai (15) before adding a match-winning 65-run stand for the seventh wicket with Charles Amini. Sompal Kami bowled Amini to end the partnership but Vala remained defiant. Amini made 35 off 42 with four boundaries. Shakti Gauchan had Vala caught by Kami but by then it was too late as PNG tailenders held on steer their side to victory. Vala made 87 off 107 with six hits to the fence. Sagar Pun also picked up a wicket for Nepal.
Earlier, Nepal were shell-shocked by the first-ball dismissal of in-form opener Anil Mandal, while Sagar Pun (10) also fell cheaply. Khakurel and Gyanendra Malla tried to steady the ship with a 47-run stand but Nepal lost the vice-captain and skipper Khadka (six) in a space of 10 runs to be 86-4. Khakurel and Vesawkar then added 56 runs before collapse resumed for Nepal. Khakurel made his maiden half century in List A match, scoring 63 off 104 balls with two boundaries. After his departure, Nepal also lost Kami (eight) and Alam (three) at 175-7.
Vesawkar and Basanta Regmi then guided Nepal to what could have been a winning total. Vesawkar scored a gritty 78 off 82 balls with five hits to the fence before Vala ended the 52-run stand, dismissing the middle order batsman. Regmi chipped in 24 off 23. Vala was the performer of the day picking up 3-32 from seven overs. Dai also took two wickets for PNG.
Nepal will now take the same side in the second 50-over game on Wednesday at the same venue.