Sharad, bowlers deliver a labored Nepal win

Sharad Vesawkar

Nepal 197 f0r 5 (Vesawakar 50* Bhandari 40* , Burger 2-22) beat Namibia 195 f0r 9 (Burger 38 Smit 26 Regmi 3-40

Sarad Vesawakar’s calm 99 ball 50 and a timely cameo by Binod Bhandari made sure Nepal did not let their bowlers’ effort go in vain as they earned a hard fought 5 wicket victory here in jam-packed TU Ground.

Having been set a tricky chase of 197, Nepalese openers made a steady start to their innings under the glorious aftersoon skies of Kritipur. After a well compiled opening stand of 42, both openers Gyananendra Malla (21) and Naresh Budhayer (16) were dismissed in quick succession leaving Nepal in spot of bother. Next 20 overs saw a tipsy-tervy battle of bat and ball with neither team taking a giant stride towards victory. At 113-5 and with 84 needed from 104 balls, it almost seemed as if the game needed someone to say “I am the boss, I will win it”

Enter Bhandari, with Vesawakar at other end struggling with fluency and only bowlers to follow, one could almost hear him saying ” I am Bhandari, Binod Bhandari” Bhandari initiated a calculated assault of Namibian spinners resulting in 3 sixes in a couple of overs. Vesawakar then slowly started finding his rythm back and went on to control the innings. Man of the Match Vesawakar completed his 50 with the winning shot as thousands gathered in the crowd went into a frenzy.

Earlier, upon winning the toss, Namibia – seemingly against the popular opinion – opted to bat first. Captain Stephan Baard was intent to prove his decision right as he started his innings with a flurry of boundaries. Sompal Kami struck a crucial blow trapping Baard leg before at the start of the third over. He then uprooted the other Zara Green when he was just starting to find his strides. Nepali spinners having had the cushion of two early wickets taken by seamers, strangled the flow of innings by taking wickets in reasonably quick intervals. It was only because of some lusty blows by JJ Smit (26 off 22) and a steady 38 by Syman Berger that Namibia managed to reach a respectable total of 196 for 7. Experienced Basanta Regmi picked up 3 wickets while the young sensation, Sandip Lamichhane, making his debut for the senior wicket bowled well to pick just a solitary wicket.

The win ensures that Nepal open their account in World Cricket League Championship with 2 points. The second match will be held on Monday on the same ground.

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.