Rohit Kumar Paudel became only Nepali batsman to score consecutive ODI half centuries as the achievement couple with a career best 84 from Kushal Bhurtel in Nepal’s five-wicket victory over USA in their first match of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 Triangular Series in Oman.
The victory means Nepal have now beaten the Americans thrice in League 2, a gateway to 2023 Cricket World Cup, and this time they have eclipsed maiden ODI century from Monank Patel.
Electing to bat first, Patel’s 114-ball 100 helped USA post a challenging 230-9 in 50 overs. Kushal and Aasif Sheikh began with a record 66-run partnership for the first wicket before Rohit finished off the game with crucial partnerships as Nepal reached 231-5 with six balls to spare.
Nepal had a steady start after Aasif and Kushal ensure they don’t lose wicket in the mandatory powerplays before the former fell to Nosthush Kenjige in the final ball of the 14th over for 23 runs. Nepal lost skipper Gyanendra Malla (17) but were closing in on triple figures by that time.
Kushal and Rohit combined to add another 51 runs but 144-2 became 145-4 after Kushal and Kushal Malla (one) fell in consecutive overs. Kushal’s gritty 93-ball innings included three sixes and as many boundaries.
The defining partnership came for the fifth wicket after Rohit and Binod Bhandari added 83 runs for the fifth wicket. USA did get rid of Bhandari but by then they were just three runs sigh of victory. Rohit hit the winnings runs and celebrate with his fist in the air.
Having come into the match with the scores of 41 and 86 in the two-match series against Papua New Guinea, Rohit remained unbeaten on 62 off 87 that included three sixes and two boundaries. Bhandari hit two fours and a six in his 48-ball 37.
Kenjige and Nisarg Patel took two wickets each for USA.
Earlier, USA innings was built around Patel who had earned a reprieve from Aasif after he dropped the middle order batsman for 89 off Sompal Kami. Nisagar was next best scorer for USA with 21 runs, while Karima Gore and Sushant Modani made 16 apiece.
Sandeep Lamichhane, Sushan Bhari Shrestha and Bikram Sob too two wickets each for Nepal.