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Nepal wrap-up series with loss

Nepal wrapped up their practice series at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Dharamshala on Wednesday with a seven run defeat against HPCA XI.


Nepal had won the first two matches of the series that ended tied on 2-2 after the local side won the remaining two. Nepal will spend three more days in Dharamshala before returning home on June 20.


A century partnership between Abhimanyu Rana and Amit Kumar took the match away from Nepal as the hosts compiled a series-high 150-6 in 20 overs. Nepal had a new opening pair of Anil Mandal and Gyanendra Malla with Subash Khakurel rested but despite getting a modest start from the duo, the visitors could only muster 143-7.


It was the high-scoring game in the four-match series. Anil and Gyanendra collected 38 runs in the first five overs before Nepal lost their three wickets for 23 runs. Anil made 15 off 26 with two boundaries, while Gyanendra made a run-a-ball 29 hitting four boundaries. Binod Bhandari – promoted to No 3 – was out for six.


Skipper Paras Khadka brought Nepal back in the match with a 38-run stand for the fourth wicket with Rajesh Pulami and 33 with Sharad Vesawkar (13). Rajesh was out for 23 off 16 with two fours and a six.


When Sharad was out Nepal needed 16 to win from the last 10 balls but the finishers disappointed with Paras, Pradeep Airee (three) and Basanta Regmi (two) failed to negotiate with the chase collecting just nine runs.


Paras notched up his highest score of the series – 36 not out – from 33 balls with three fours and a six. Shresht Nirmohi and Rahul Singh picked up two wickets each for the visitors.


Earlier, two wickets from Avinash Karn and one from Pradeep Airee reduced HPCA to 26-3 in 5.4 overs but Abhimanyu and Kumar shared 113 runs for the fourth wicket to build on a challenging total. Abhimanyu was unbeaten on 67 off 60 with six boundries and a six, while Kumar made 49 off 36 with two fours and three sixes.


Basanta and Jitendra Mukhiya also picked up a wicket each for Nepal who had rested Sompal Kami, Karan KC and Shakti Gauchan.

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