KATHMANDU :- He had done it earlier and he was down on one knee once again. The last it was against Kuwait, and this time, he got a big fish – the UAE.
A 15,000 – rather 15,000 eyes were set ablaze when Binod Bhandari blasted that delivery from Arshad Ali into the crowd over mid-wicket. It was a six that relieved the mind full of tension; a maximum that brought everyone on to their feet and a shot that prompted our skipper Paras Khadka to nod in reassurance: “Yes you can take us across the finishing line.”
It was the same Binod who clobbered a last-ball six to force a bowl out against Kuwait – a match that Nepal won after an intense drama during the 2009 ACC Twenty20 Cup in Dubai. Two years passed and in between Nepal won ICC World Cricket League Division-IV and ACC Trophy Elite. The good run of form made Nepal one of the title contenders in the ACC Twenty20.
The men in blue and red were now up against the UAE and as the match wore on, in a chase of 134, the hosts needed 18 off the last 12 balls. Our sweet heart Paras was there but what turned around was all Binod. Down on one knee, the right hander lofted Ali over midwicket of the first ball and after some hide and seek between the wickets, Binod dealt a killer blow with another huge six off the last ball.
A Bhandari carnage — it could be said.
Though the two winning runs came from the blades of Paras in the first ball of the next over, Binod butchery deserved the high five. More was to come from Binod in the final against Afghanistan but the luxury he fancies to go after the bowling was not there after Nepal were reduced to 41-3 after 10 overs. His role switched and a deserved hats off came when his gritty 34, in a 71-run face-saving stand with Paras, lifted Nepal to a respectable 135.
Nepal were unfortunate to lose the final by seven wickets after Afghans dealt with the target professionally. But, two contrasting innings have made Binod a man able to deliver in a crunch situation.After the 16 that included two sixes in a 10-ball blitz against UAE, Binod batted as a savior in his unnoticed 34 against Afghanistan. Since it was for a losing cause, I would say his ability to stay at the crease is a perfect signal for Nepal ahead of the ICC World Cricket League Division-III.
Coach Pubudu Dassanayake has given a particular role to his players and Binod fits in the role that will make Nepal a complete one-day team in Bermuda. The 50-over opening combination of Subash Khakurel and Anil Mandal has already bore fruit after the duo’s 94-run opening stand won the ACC Trophy Elite for Nepal last year. The middle order – beginning from No 3 Gyanendra Malla to No 6 Sharad Vesawkar – has been the backbone of the team and Binod is going to be an icing on the cake.
From two contrasting innings Binod has shown the ability to run riot over the opponents and the ability to shape the innings with patience. At one time he can be an aggressor that keeps going and a defender that can anytime be lethal. With the promise he had shown during the ACC Twenty20 Cup, a lot is yet to come from him. What everyone would like to see from him is “A GREAT FINISHING.”