Nepal have registered a stunning 5-wicket victory over the hosts, Scotland in the ongoing CWC league-2 tri-series. This is the first time Nepal have defeated Scotland in ODI as well as in List-A matches (lost all 4 meetings previously). Nepal chased down 145 in just 25.1 overs to secure 5 wickets victory on the back of 71 from Aasif Sheikh after bowlers did their job in the first innings.
Brilliant start followed by late hiccups
Even though Nepal were chasing only 145, there were still doubts given the fragile batting lineup and conditions. However, the openers’ positive approach helped Nepal to get a good start. The duo of Bhurtel and Asif put 47-run partnership and Nepal raced to 52-1 after 10 overs. Kushal Bhurtel was first to go but wasn’t dismissed before handy 27 off 28 balls. Bhurtel hit 4 boundaries during his short stay. Dev Khanal was caught at first slip on 4 which was a doubtful catch.
The pair of Asif and Rohit put 48 runs for the third wicket before Asif got out after a well-made 71 (off 62 balls). Asif smashed his 4th ODI half-century. The knock included 10 fours and 1 six. Nepal then had slight hiccups with back-to-back wickets of Dipendra Airee (3) and Aarif Sheikh (1). Rohit, who made an unbeaten 34 with the help of five fours, made sure there would be no further loss of wicket. During his unbeaten 34, Rohit Paudel also became the third batter (after Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla) to complete 1000 runs in List-A; a High portion of those runs came in ODIs.
Brilliant bowling in the first innings
Earlier Nepal won the toss and did not hesitate to bowl first in the helpful overcast condition. It took only 12 deliveries for Nepal to prove the decision was right. Sompal Kami provided the first breakthrough for Nepal when he had Scottish Wicket-keeper Mathew Cross caught by Keeper. Calum Macleod, who came at 3, hit two boundaries and tried to build a partnership but fell soon on 13 as he handed catch to Aarif Sheikh.
With the next three wickets falling quickly, Scotland found themselves 33/5 after 11.2 overs. Scotland added another 13 runs before they lost their sixth wicket. Mark Watt (17) and Safyaan Sharif (16) were two other batters with double-digit contributions.
With Nepal continuing to pick wickets, Scotland were soon 95-9, then Gavin Main decided to play his best innings. With only 24 runs in his List-A career before today, Main scored a handy 64 off 59 balls to help Scotland reach 144. Main, who put a 49-run partnership with Hamza Tahir, struck seven fours and 1 six during his maiden ODI fifty. The pair frustrated Nepali bowlers for more than 12 overs. Nepal had few chances to dismiss Main but he kept evading fielders. Scotland were eventually bowled out for 144 in 42.5 Overs.
Sompal Kami, who bowled an 8-over opening burst, finished with 3 wickets. He could have had his 4th had Aadil managed to take the catch in his last ball of this spell. Similarly, Aadil Alam also bowled brilliantly to scalp 3 wickets. Skipper Lamichhane had yet another brilliant outing: 10-1-35-2. Karan KC and Dipendra Airee shared a wicket apiece.
With this victory, Nepal moved a place above Namibia with 17 points from 18 games. They now play Namibia on Saturday. It will be followed by the last game against the hosts on 17 July.