Nepal’s miserable performance in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers continued in New Zealand with yet another 12-run loss against Canada in their final Group ‘A’ match at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Tuesday.
For a team that had set ambitions of at least gaining an ODI status if missing out on securing a maiden berth in the World Cup, it was the worst ever performance for Nepal who failed to win even one single match in the group stage.
In a match that was reduced to 41-over-a-side due to rain, Canada made a challenging 255-9 with half centuries from Nitish Kumar and Raza-ur-Rehman. Nepal replied with 243-8 in their 41 where the dismissal of Gyanendra Malla was enough for their defeat.
Gyanendra made 86 in the match – the second half century for Nepal in the four matches of the league stage – as Nepal crossed 200-run mark for the first time in the tournament.
Opener Sagar Pun once again failed to justify his selection in the top order out for a third-ball duck in the first over. Pradeep Airee – who was promoted up the order with Anil Mandal sitting at the bench – added another 83 runs for the second wicket with Gyanendra.
The 83-run partnership was the biggest stand for Nepal in the ongoing tournament. Pradeep was dismissed for 26 off 34 with two boundaries.
Gyanendra added another 32 skipper Paras Khadka (17) and 31 with Prithu Baskota (15) raising the hopes of registering maiden win in the tournament with a century. After adding another 24 runs with Sharad Vesawkar (17), Gyanendra headed back to the pavilion.
Gyanendra was looking in a great touch hitting nine boundaries in his gritty 86 from 97 balls. Binod Bhandari (17) played in his usual aggression smashing a six and a four but was dismissed in the 36th over as asking rate kept creeping up. Sharad was next to go for 17 and Shakti Gauchan was out for 15.
Basanta Regmi made unbeaten 25 off 17 with two fours and a six. Khurram Chohan picked up four wickets for Canada. Earlier, Som Pal Kami picked up two and Shakti had one scalp as Nepal managed to reduce Canada to 54-3 in 8.4 overs.
Nitish and Rehman then consolidate the Canadian innings with an 84-run partnership. Nitish made 67 off 59 with five boundaries and two sixes before losing his wicket to Sagar. Rehman continued to play his shots and with some modest partnerships lifted Canada to a formidable position.
Rehman made 89 off 87 with nine hits to the fence and Hamza Tariq scored 34 off 36 with three fours. Som Pal returned with 3-64 from eight overs and Shakti was economical in his 1-27 from nine overs. Basanta took 2-51 from eight overs. Jitendra Mukhiya was hit for 47 runs in five overs.