Paras Khadka and Dipendra Airee guided Nepal to compressive victory against Colts Cricket Club.
Chasing the modest target of 217 runs, Nepal’s openers looked steady initially. Khakurel and Malla shared 42 runs for first wicket before Lakshan disposed Khakurel’s stump. He scored 22 runs, facing 23 deliveries. Then, backbones of Nepal’s batting line-up, Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla added 88 runs for second wicket, expensing 92 balls. Malla scored 45 runs off 65 balls. His deputy, Khadka also departed in successive over. Nepal’s skipper, Khadka, batted beautifully to score 58 runs off 57 balls. Binod Bhandari (01) dismissed softly. Last match’s second highest run-scorer, Sagar Pun struggled for 20 balls to score 5 runs. Nepal were pushed back to backdoor with 3 quick wickets by Colts Cricket Club. Aarif Sheikh joined the crease with Dipendra Airee needing 67 runs with 126 balls on bank. They shared unbeaten 68 runs to seal the victory for Nepal with 44 balls to spare. Airee registered his half century, scoring unbeaten 52 runs off 53 balls. Sheikh also played his part with 23 runs.
Earlier, Colts Cricket Club won the toss and opted to bat first. Karan KC started it perfectly for Nepal as he picked up 2 wickets in his first two overs. He victimised Dilan (08) and Roshan (01) respectively. Colts was trying to re-build the innings before Sompal Kami hunted Madawa for his 7 runs. Kami was quick enough to pick another wicket as he dismissed Vishwa in very next over. Vishwa was looking destructive with 18ball- 24 runs. Pendulum was totally swinging towards Nepal but Ayana (36) and Hashan (59) changed the dimension with handy 85 runs stand for 5th wickets. Sagar Pun was the man with golden arm for visitors as he drove his side ahead with two quick wickets. Rajbanshi spin the ball to provide 7th breakthrough for Nepal. Colts finished with 216 runs in 49.5 overs, losing all 10 wickets. Sensible batting during middle overs, after being 4th down and some fireworks from lower-middle order propelled their total. Thanks to Lakmal who smashed 31 runs before Paudel’s direct-hit found him short of the crease.
With this Nepal will travel to Malaysia with winning momentum. They won all three matches in this preparatory tour of Sri Lanka. ACC Asia Cup Qualifier 2018 will commence from August 29 in Malaysia.
Image © Raman Shiwakoti