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Youngsters hand Nepal sensational victory over Kenya

Feb 12, 2018 | Cricketingnepal |

Aarif Sheikh and Rohit Kumar Paudel didn't let Sandeep Lamichhane's magical spell wasted as Nepal edge Kenya by three wickets in a last ball thriller to remain in contention for the top two spot in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2. 

Lamichhane took his and Nepal's best List 'A' bowling figures to take 5-20 from 10 overs with five maiden overs as Kenya were restricted to 177-8 in 50 overs. Nepal suffered early hiccups before they recovered through skipper Paras Khadka but needed a brilliant patience from Aarif and Rohit to reach 178-7 in exactly 50 overs.

The win puts Nepal second in the standings on net run rate after they were tied on six points with Canada, whom they play in a do-or-die last league match on Wednesday. A victory over Canada wll hand Nepal a spot in next month's ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

Nepal were 14-3 after they lost opener and debutant Anil Sah (duck), Gyanendra Malla (nine) and Dipendra Singh Airee (one) by the sixth over. Paras then did the bulk of scoring in his 55-run partnership with Sharad Vesawkar (19) bringing Nepal back in the game. 

However, Nepal were left reeling at both the set batsmen in a space of 13 runs. Paras was first to go for a 44-ball 42 that included two fours and three sixes.

Carrying a batting line up that is yet to spark in the tournament, barring Paras, Nepal had young Aarif and new comer Rohit. But the two batsmen resurrected the innings with vigilant innings to take the game away from Kenya. 

The two batsmen got involved in a match-winning 87 run stand before a late mix up pushed the match to final ball. Nepal needed nine runs from the last 12 balls but in the penultimate over bowled by Shem Ngoche, they lost Aarif and managed just three runs. 

With six to win from the last six balls, Rohit took a couple in the first ball and after two singles, he ran himself out leaving two to get from last two. Sompal played a dot in the second last ball before stealing a two to ignite the celebration. 

Rohit top scored in the game with an 86-ball 47, while Aarif scored 42 from 82 with two boundaries. Emmanuel Bundi took three wickets for Kenya.

Earlier, it was Sandeep who put Nepal in the front foot after he struck regularly to cancel out a solid 65-run opening wicket partnership between Alex Obanda and Irfan Karim. Obanda hit five boundaries in his fluen 41-run innings before getting bowled by Sandeep. 

Floodgates opened as Sandeep struck again in his next over to remove new man Dhiren Gondaria. Kenya struggled there after and lost Karim -- their top scorer with 100-ball 42 -- to Basanta Regmi. Sandeep returned again and broke the backbone of Kenyan batting to get rid of skipper Rakep Patel (one) and Rushab Patel (duck).

It was only through Nelson Odhiambo (24) and Ngoche (23) that they managed to reach close to 180 after the two batsmen shared 39 runs for the ninth wicket. Paras and Sharad also picked up a wicket each for Nepal.


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