Nepal put their one-foot in the Division-I making a short work of Namibia by three wickets for their third consecutive victory in the ICC World Cricket League Division-II in Windhoek, Namibia on Wednesday.
At the United Cricket Club grounds, Nepal won the toss and on the back of a collective effort from their bowlers, bowled out Namibia for just 142 in 49.5 overs. Nepal went through some scary moments in the opening and closing stages of the game but with skipper Paras Khadka finding form, they cruised to 146-7 with 73 balls to spare.
The victory puts Nepal in a strong position to qualify for Division-I and most importantly enjoy the luxuries of the 50-over ICC World Cricket League Championship and ICC Intercontinental Cup – the two tournaments on offer for the top eight to 10 Associate and Affiliate teams.
Nepal remained at the second spot with six points and up against them in their final league will be Kenya (on Friday) who is second from the bottom in the six-team tournament. A victory against Kenya will send Nepal in Division-I, while even a slim-margin defeat can keep their chances alive provided the Netherlands and Canada don’t come up with victories with biggest margin in their respective last matches.
Namibia are all but through to Division-I having their position solidified at the top of the table with a better run rate. Canada and the Netherlands are third and fourth tied on four points each. Kenya and Uganda are out of the promotion race.
The Namibians had put up a mammoth 314 in their 188-run crushing against the Netherlands a day earlier but against Nepal it was a different story when the fast bowling pair of Karan KC and Sompal Kami made short work of their top order.
Two wickets from Karan and one each from Sompal and Basanta Regmi reduced Namibia to 35-4 in 13.5 overs. Raymond van Schoor (28) and Stephan Burger then fored Namibia’s biggest partnership of the match – 32 for the fifth wicket – but that was only to salvage some reputation.
A run out of Burger broke the partnership and it followed by Shakti Gauchan’s dismissal of set van Schoor and Nichollas Scholtz (16). The Namibian tail order did push the total close to 150-run mark before Karan, Basanta and Sompal polished it off.
After back to back failures of Naresh Budhayer, coach Pubudu Dassanayake went with his occasional opening combination of Subash Khakurel and Sagar Pun. But the openers once again failed to give a desired start.
Sagar (seven) and Subash (four) did less damage before both were dismissed leaving Nepal at 27-2 in 9.2 overs. Nepal’s most reliable pair of Paras and Gyanendra Malla then rebuilt the innings with a fine 58-run stand for the third wicket.
Gyanendra was out for 31 off 73 hitting two boundaries. Paras, however, continued to play hisshot and brought his second half century of the tournament with a single of Gerrie Snyman in the 29th over. Next over, Nepal collected 16 runs with a six from Paras and a boundary from Binod Bhandari.
The two batsmen took the match away from Namibia with a 41-run stand in no time. As a big victory against tournament’s most successful team loomed, Nepal went through some nervy moments when the scores read 139-7 from 126-3.
Paras was first to go out for 64 off 56 with six boundaries and three sixes followed by Sharad Vesawkar (seven), Aarif Sheikh (one) and Binod Bhandari who made 18 off 32 with one boundary. The victory prolonged but Basanta hit the winning boundaries to end the wait.