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Nepal alive in ODI status race with Hong Kong scalp

Mar 12, 2018 | Cricketingnepal |

Nepal kept alive their hopes of earning one-day international status following a five-wicket victory over familiar foes Hong Kong to finish fourth in Group 'B' of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers at the Bulawayo Athletic Club in Zimbabwe on Monday.

Youngster Rohit Kumar Paudel and Sompal Kami got involved in a match-winning 89-run partnership to bail out the team from trouble as Nepal chased down a target of 154 runs in 40.4 overs to deny Hong Kong a place in the Super Six and remain themselves in the hunt for ODI status. 

The tournament offers ODI status for the three highly-ranked Associate teams and with Scotland and United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- who made it into Super Six -- already securing it, Nepal needed to defeat Hong Kong to get that one last spot.

Nepal's win benefited Afghanistan as the new Test entrants scraped through to Super Six finishing third in the table despite losing their first three matches of the tournament. Afghanistan, Nepal and Hong Kong were tied on two points each and they made it through courtesy better net run rate. 

Nepal will now compete against Papua New Guinea in the seventh place playoff semi-final where only a victory can get them on course for ODI status. Hong Kong meet the Netherlands -- who have been granted ODI status following their ICC World Cricket League Championship triumph, in the other semi-final and if the Dutch win that game Nepal can get ODI status, provided they beat PNG. 

Rohit, who was involved in an epic 84-run partnership with Aarif Sheikh, while beating Kenya in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 last month, was once again the hero in Nepal's chase after they were reduced to 66-5. 

Building his innings brick by brick, Rohit shared 89-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Sompal as Nepal finally registered victory in the tournament. Rohit made his List 'A' best score of 48 from 86 balls and Sompal chipped in a 40-ball 37. They hit five boundaries each. 

Nepal had a decent start after Anil Sah aced the chase adding 41 runs for the first wicket with Gyanendra Malla. But Nepal went on to lose five wickets for 25 runs once Aizaz Khan removed Anil after the opener made 26 from 36 balls with five boundaries. Aizaz and Ehsan Khan took two wickets each for Hong Kong.


Earlier, Sompal removed Hong Kong skipper Babar Hayat (20) and Sandeep Lamichhane had Anshuman Rath (one) stumped by Anil as Nepal broke the backbone of their batting. Nizakat Khan top scored from the top order making 47 off 84 with four boundaries and a six. 

Ehsan Khan (21) and Ehsan Nawaz (13) pushed their side beyond 150 with a 32-run ninth wicket stand. Sandeep took 3-17 and Basanta Regmi got 2-20 conceding just 37 runs in their collective 20 overs. Sandeep bowled 52 dot balls. Karan KC also took 2-35 from eight overs for Nepal.


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