Nepal’s unbeaten run in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers ended in their third match losing to Scotland by eight wickets at the ICC Academy Oval 2 in Dubai on Tuesday.
With senior teams from both sides meeting for the first time, Scotland gained an upper hand in the match when they contained Nepal for 137-7 electing to field first. Nepal did put up their fight but opener Calum MacLeod kept them at bay with a brilliant 82 not out taking Scotland to 138-2 with four balls to spare.
MacLeod blasted five boundaries and three sixes in his 64-ball knock handing Scots their first victory in three matches. With the loss, Nepal are second in the points table led by Papua New Guinea (PNG).
PNG lead Group ‘B’ on net run rate as they are tied on four points with Nepal, the Netherlands, Bermuda and Afghanistan. The teams in the top five have lost one game each.
After regular opener Pradeep Airee failed to give a desired start to Nepal in the matches against Denmark and Kenya, coach Pubudu Dassanayake opted to drop him for today’s match but still that didn’t work.
Subash Khakurel (six), Sagar Pun (11) and Gyanendra Malla (14) did bat with intensity but Nepal lost them inside the power plays with the scores reading 35-4 in 5.5 overs. Binod Bhandari and skipper Paras Khadka held the innings for a while with a 47-run stand but that couldn’t last long.
Binod was looking in good touch after he hit Majid Haq for two straight sixes in the 12th over but fell to Safyan Shariff in the 13th. Binod was the leading scorer for Nepal in the match with 28 off 25 hitting two boundaries as well.
Paras hit Majid for a four and a six in the next over but lost his wicket to Gordon Goudie in the 16th leaving Nepal at 101-5. Paras was one of the three wickets taken by the Scots in the last five overs conceding just 36 runs.
Sharad Vesawkar made 16 off 19, Basanta Regmi hit a six in his seven-ball 13 and Anil Mandal departed for eight. Goudie and Shariff took three wickets each. The Scots began cautiously in their chase and lost lost opener Richie Berrington (five), stumped by Subash off Basanta in the fourth over.
MacLeod and Matt Machan (28) shared 48 runs for the second wicket before Paras dismissed the latter in the 10th over. MacLeod then shared an unbroken 72-run partnership with skipper Kyle Koetzer (20) to take his team across the line.