Nepal’s two-match winning streak in their practice camp of HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala came to an end after losing to HPCA XI by 24 runs on Tuesday.
Having beaten the same side twice, the match gave an ample opportunity to coach Pubudu Dassanayake to flirt with his batting order and he did the same benching Sagar Pun and sending Subash Khakurel and Gyanendra Malla to open the innings.
After Karan KC’s accurate bowling stopped HPCA on 136-7 in 20 overs, the new pair put on a 32-run opening wicket stand but the failure of the middle order saw Nepal restricted to 112-7. Gyanendra, who had made an unbeaten half century on Monday, was out for 12 and with his departure Nepal lost their first five wickets for just 35 runs.
Subash was next to go for 23 off 39 with two boundaries becoming first of the three victims of Raghav Dhawan. Skipper Paras Khadka (10), Binod Bhandari (11) and new comer Siddhant Lohani (three) were out cheaply.
Sharad Vesawkar then came to the rescued adding 34 runs for the sixth wicket with Rajesh Pulami (seven). Rajesh, also playing his first match of the tour, left the crease when Nepal required 36 runs from the last 11 balls.
With Sharad still on the crease it all looked possible but HPCA bowlers delivered tightly conceding just 11 runs and taking the wicket of Sompal Kami (one) in the last ball of the day. Sharad was left stranded on 36 off 21. He hit four boundaries and two sixes.
Earlier, Karan removed opener Dhawan (duck) early in the game but Amit Thakur and Abhimanyu Rana went on to share 36 runs for the second wicket before some modest contributions guided HPCA to a total that ultimately proved safe.
Thaku made 23 off 26 with three fours and lost his wicket to Avinash Karn, while Rana scored a 30-ball 26 with one boundary. Sumeet Verma chipped in 12-ball 20 hitting two sixes and a four.
Karan was the pick of the Nepali bowlers returning with the figures of 3-15, while Siddhant took 2-36 from four overs. Dassanayake left out frontline spinners Shakti Gauchan and Basant Regmi for the day.