In an epic encounter, Nepal sees off Kenya by 3 wickets completing the chase in the ultimate delivery of the match. The win put Nepal in a strong position to claim their place in the ICC World Cup qualifiers.
Nepal won the toss and predictably elected to bowl first. The choice didn’t look fruitful until Sandeep Lamichhane was given the ball. The pair of Irfan Karim and Alex Obanda was in cruise control of the innings with already 65 runs on the board and no casualty. However, things changed quickly with the Delhi Daredevils boy coming on to bowl. He went right through the gates of Obanda who made 41 runs with 5 gracious four. Shortly, Dhiren Gondaria also departed in his ball.
Irfan Karim, before getting out for 42 played slowly but cautiously. He was dismissed by left arm spinner Basant Regmi In 33rd over of the innings.
Lamichanne came into limelight in the match dismissing the dangerous man Rakep Patel who was safely caught by skipper Paras Khadka. In the very next delivery, Lamichhane sent Rushab Patel back to the pavilion for a golden duck, yet again on a hat trick. Nepal was in control of the innings with score of 129 for 6 in 42.5 over’s. Shem Ngoche’s quick fire 23 off 15 towards the end helped Kenya post a decent score of 177, against a below par performing Nepalese batsman.
As usual, the chase was not free from twist and turns. Skipper led from the front with 42 runs to his name. His acrobatic innings came when Nepal was in deep trouble with 3 batsman already out for 14 runs only. Before getting out to Odhiambo, he made a partnership of 55 runs with Sharad Vesawkar in which his innings constituted of 3 fours and 2 sixes.
With the wicket of the skipper, Kenya got much needed relief since Paras Khadka was on great form in the tournament. However, a solid and matured partnership came from Aarif Sheikh and Rohit Paudel to steer the innings from a poor position to winning one.
Aarif, who came to replace the skipper in the middle was calm and composed and went on to craft 42 runs from 82 balls with 2 fours before being released to Shem Ngoche on pursuit of a big shot. Rohit was equally good in routing the innings. The pair showed great character in the middle rotating the strike frequently and playing without any risk. Sompal took Nepal home with a very short run-a-ball innings in the final over.