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Magical Sharad gives Nepal historic chase

Sharad Vesawkar smashed three sixes in the last over to hand Nepal a six-wicket victory over Kenya in their historic chase in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers at the ICC Academy Oval 2 in Dubai on Saturday. 

 

Kenya piled a mammoth 182-9 from 20 overs following a whirlwind century from Rakep Patel. Sharad – who was hit for 30 runs by Patel in the 17th over – made up for his bowling glitch smashing 20 runs off the final over as Nepal finished at 186-4 with two balls to spare.

 

It was biggest chase for Nepal in their Twenty20 history surpassing their previous best of 159-3 in reply of Bahrain’s 157-8 during the ACC Twenty20 Cup in 2009. Skipper Paras Khadka was once again a major contributor remaining unbeaten on 54 off 31 balls.

 

Earlier, Nepal reduced the 2003 ICC World Cup semi-finalists Kenya to 32-4 before Patel began his onslaught. Kenya were 43-4 after 10 overs and Patel switched his gears. He smashed 10 sixes and five boundaries on his way to make 103 off just 45 balls. 

 

Paras cleaned up Patel in the 18th over after he was hit for a six. Patel shared 131 runs for the fifth wicket with Morris Ouma who chipped in a run-a-ball 37 with two sixes and a four. Jitendra Mukhiya (2-31) and Basanta Regmi (2-34) were among the wicket takers for Nepal. 

 

The Nepali camp jolted in their big chase when Pradeep Airee (one) once again failed to impress.Another opener Subash Khakurel and Gyanendra Malla then played sensibly stealing singles and double and punishing lose balls for a 77-run partnership. 

 

Gyanendra made 32 off 22 with six boundaries and was stumped behind the wicket while playing a big shot. Subash and Paras added 45 runs with the former completing his half century in the 13th over. With asking rate creeping up, Subash ran himself out. 

 

Under immense pressure to collect some quick runs at 138-3 after 17 overs, Paras brought Nepal back in the game clobbering Elijah Otieno for three sixes in the 18th where Nepal scored 22 runs. Nepal then lost Binod Bhandari (12) in the 19th over collecting just six runs. 

 

Sharad was batting on three from two balls when he kept the strike for the final over and set batsman Paras on the other end with 17 runs required. Sharad then showed his magic hitting Ragheb Aga for a six in the first ball, scampered for a double in the second and smashed two back-to-back sixes for a record chase. 

 

Nepal will now play Scotland in their third match on Monday. In another Group ‘B’ match, Papua New Guinea (PNG) continued to impress with a shocking 52-run victory over the Netherlands.

 

PNG – who had stunned Kenya chasing 177 runs – piled a huge 193-3, the highest total in the tournament so far, riding on an 82-ball 100 from Tony Ura. The Dutch – who had hammered Afghanistan by seven wickets on Friday – only managed 141-9 in reply.

 

Afghanistan got their tournament campaign on track defeating Scotland by 17 runs and Bermuda crushed Denmark by nine wickets. PNG lead Group ‘B’ with four points from two matches. Nepal and Bermuda – also on four points – are second and third on net run rate.

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