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Kenyans break Nepal’s hearts

Ultimately, it was the two-run loss to relegated Uganda that cost Nepal dear. Nepal lost their place in Division-I on net run rate after losing to Kenya by five wickets in their final league match of the ICC World Cricket League Division-II in Windhoek, Namibia on Friday.

 

After losing to Uganda by a slim-margin of two runs, Nepal staged a remarkable comeback in the tournament stunning the Netherlands, Canada and Namibia to inch closer to Division-I but they were inflicted a loss that prevent them from beginning a new era in its cricket.

 

 

The Dutch demolition of Uganda lifted them to third in the points table having gained an edge on net run rate. The Netherlands, in their last league match, overhauled an 80-run target in just 6.3 overs.

 

Nepal did manage to reach close to 200-run mark and having bundled out their opponents in all of their previous encounters for below 160, the match seemed to be within the grasp considering the stats.

 

However, Nepal were bowling second for the first time in the tournament on a 50-over old pitch allowing Kenya to cut loose and chase the target with an ease reaching 195-5 with 90 balls to spare.

 

The final standings saw Namibia, after their eight-wicket crushing of Kenya – finish at the top of the table. Netherlands and Nepal collected six points each with the latter pushed down on net run rate. 

 

Kenya survived relegation in the expense of Canada who along with Kenya were relegated to Division 3. Had Nepal not lost to Uganda, the story could have been different for Nepal.

 

Nepal were put to bat first for the first time in the tournament and with the openers running with a poor form, they witnessed Subash Khakurel (two), Sagar Pun (12) and Naresh Budhayer (duck) – who replaced Aarif Sheikh to play at No 3 – lose their wickets cheaply.

 

Skipper Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla resisted the attack sharing 48 runs for the fourth wicket. Paras was dismissed for 20 off 44 with two boundaries. Gyanendra played more sensibly after the departure of Paras, who had back-to-back centuries to his name, and shared another 44 with Sharad Vesawkar (18) and 33 for the sixth with Binod Bhandari (16).

 

Gyanendra completed his half century picking up three runs off Rakep Patel. The middle order main stay, however, was not able to cut loose after watching wickets crumbling from the other end.

 

He was left stranded for 91 that was studded with seven boundaries from 116 balls. It was the highest score for Nepal in List A with Gyanendra surpassing his own 86 which he had compiled against Canada during the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in January last year. Elijah Otieno picked up 3-47 for Kenya.

 

Nepal had a celebrating start when Karan KC dismissed opener Narendra Patel (seven) that was followed by the dismissal of Nehemiah Odhiambo (two) as Kenya were restricted to 13-2 in 2.1 overs.

 

Another opener Alex Obanda and Irfan Karim then flayed Nepali attack sharing 76 runs for the third wicket. Obanda made 45 off 51 with four fours and a six. Nepal’s comeback looked possible when Sagar dismissed Obanda and Malla ran out Collins Obuya (one) in a space of two balls.

 

But Karim and skipper Patel had other ideas. The two batsmen played fluently sharing a match-winning 103 runs for the fifth wicket that guided Kenya to a convincing victory. Patel was dismissed for 56 when Kenya were just one run away from victory.

 

Patel’s innings included five boundaries and two sixes. Man-of-the-match Karim remainde unbeaten on 75 off 94 with eight boundaries.

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