Majestic Khadka ton leads thrilling Nepal victory

Paras Khadka

Nepal 240 for 7 (Khadka 103, Vesawkar 74*, Burger 3-38) beat Namibia 239 for 9 (Baard 51, Green 47, Lamichhane 2-39) by three wickets

Paras Khadka slammed a majestic century to ensure Nepal complete a 2-0 sweep over Namibia in the third round of matches of World Cricket League championship. With the win, Nepal moves to the sixth of the standings having earlier lost all its four matches.

In slightly overcast conditons, Nepal made the obvious choice of bowling first. Captain Paras Khadka would not have expected to see a 95 run opening stand between Stephan Baard (51) and Zara Green (47) when he made that decison. However he has himself to blame more than anyone else as he dropped two catches – one of each openers. Once the ball got older and spinners started to find their mojo, everything turned upside down. Sandip Lamichhane, the first 21st century born player to play the internation cricket started the slide with a well disguised delivery ending in an easy stumping. Two sharp runouts followed it wild old fox Basant Regmi did not waste his time in picking two wickets. 95 for 0 was soon 136 for 6 and Nepal looked poised to bowl out Namibia.

What happened next, took almost everyone by surprise, not least the Nepalese bowler themselves. 11 overs of bruital hitting by the “tail” produced exactly 103 runs. One simple stat shows the degree of hitting by the lower order – batsmen from 1 to 6 hit zero sixes while those of no.7 to 10 managed 8 of them. Scholtz and JP Kotze enjoyed the hapless bowling the most with Kotze striking a blistering 11 ball 32 with 3 sixes. Sompal Kami ended with a sorry figure of none for 64 in his 7 overs and Nepal was set a stiff 240 to chase.

Nepal started their innings and it didn’t seem much of a start until Khadka joined Vesawakar in the middle of 14th over when Nepal was reeling at 2-37. Then what the capacity crowd at the TU ground saw, can safely be called as one of the most breathtaking display of batting this Himalayan nation has ever seen. With the rainy clouds hovering around the sky and the D/L score floating everywhere, the only thing raining thereafter were the sixes and the only thing floating around were cricket balls. Skipper Khadka was hammering sixes at his will and soon completed his century off 89 balls with 7 sixes.

Paras departed at the score of 103 and with Nepal needing 35 off 52 and a well set Sarad at other end, the match was looking like a forgone conclusion. An absuolate harakiri followed his dismissal, with each batsman making wild slogs to midwicket. One perished after the other but a calm headed Vesawakar’s 74 runs ensured Nepal win the match by 3 wickets in the penultimate ball of the innings.

Paras Khadka, quite deservedly, was awarded the Man of the Match. Nepal will now take on Netherlands in the month of August.

A serious guy who makes silly points. Also a cricket tragic whose only on-field achievement is witnessing 6 runs as byes in a single ball.