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Nepal hold heads high after Pawan's half century

Nov 14, 2019 | CN Staff |

Nepali boys will hold their heads high as the team notched up close to 200 runs against an experienced Indian team in a seven-wicket loss in their opening encounter of the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Bangladesh on Thursday.

Put in to bat first, a gritty half century from Pawan Sarraf lifted Nepal to a respectable 193 all out in 44.5 overs. With a haul of experience in Indian domestic cricket, the Test side reached the target in just 42 overs with seven wickets in hand.

Rather than the result of the team, coach Umesh Patwal said it was the experience of playing against a big side that the team needs to take. "It was a good experience for our boys to play against some of the experienced players. Scoring 190 plus against them should be take as a good start," Patwal told cricketingnepal.com after the completion of the match at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan.

Nepal had a disastrous start when they lost opener and captain Gyanendra Malla for duck in the second ball of the innings. Sharad Vesawkar and debutant Kushal Bhurtel consolidated the innings with a half century partnership. After losing quick wickets of Kushal (28) and Aarif Sheikh (two), Sharad added another 44 runs with Dipendra Singh Airee (24).

Just as it looked Nepal were set to build on that partnership twin dismissals of Sharad and Dipendra rocked the Nepali innings. As other batsmen failed to stay put, Nepal were reduced to 145-7 in 37.2 overs. Patwal admitted that Nepal have been haunted by the same problem over and over again.

"The batsmen have not been hanging on to the crease for a long time. And this is a repeated problem for us. I am hopeful they will understand their mistakes and learn from it and make sure don't repeat the same again," said Patwal.

Having already added 31 runs with Binod Bhandari, Pawan continued to play with confidence and pushed the team close to 200 with another 41 runs with Karan KC (20). Pawan's innings included seven fours and two sixes but it was the intent that impressed the coach.

"Pawan looked very positive today. He was supposed to bat at No 8 but he was looking good with the bat. I wanted to promote him up the order and it worked. He performed the way we wanted him to perform," the coach added.

For Pawan, it was all about playing a role in the team. "The wickets were tumbling from the other end and I thought taking the team close to 200 and 250 would be better for us. I was not looking to hit every ball and thought of playing those balls that were in my zone," said Pawan.

Nepal will now take on Hong Kong in their second match on Saturday and would like to fancy a chance to defeat them and keep their fingers cross for the semi-finals. Their last match will be against the hosts Bangladesh on November 18.

Watch Pawan Sarraf's half-century video


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