Nepal produced a sensational bowling comeback to defend a low total against Oman getting their ICC Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers campaign off to a triumphant start on Friday.
At the Al Ameerat Cricket grounds, a submissive batting saw Nepal innings folded for just 117-8 after they were put in to bat. Fast bowlers then gave the desired start before spinners Sandeep Lamichhane and Dipenddra Singh Airee wreaked havoc in the middle order as Oman were 78 all out with 18 balls to spare.
Nepal struck on regular intervals and Oman, in no time, were reduced to 35-6 by the ninth over. Naseem Khushi, dropped on two by wicket-keeper Aasif Sheikh off Abinash Bohora, had Nepal heart in their mouth smashing two sixes before Nepal captain Sandeep had his revenge bowling the dangerous batsman to throw Oman virtually out of the game.
Kamal Singh Airee, who finished with the figures of 3-15, polished off the tail picking up two wickets in the 17th over. Sandeep (2-20) and Dipendra (2-15) share four wickets between them for Nepal.
Jitendra Mukhiya and Abinash also picked up a wicket each as both bowlers conced just 20 runs in their six collective overs. Khushi (24 off 18) was the only Oman batsman to reach double figures.
Much had been talked about Nepali opening pair of Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh but both fell to Bilal Khan without troubling the scorecard. As Kaleemullah bowled tightly conceding just 12 runs in his single four-over spell, Oman continued to pick wickets.
Former skipper Gyanendra Malla (15) and in-form Dipendra (11) also feel cheaply before Aarif Sheikh made what ultimately was valuable contribution with two partnerships. He shared 27 runs for the fifth wicket with Lokesh Bam (16) and 30 runs for the eighth with Sandeep (16) ensuring Nepal at least have some runs to defend. Man-of-the-match Aarif made a 37-ball 38 with two boundaries.
Leg spinner Khawar Ali was the pick of the Omani bowlers taking 3-30 from four overs. Nepal collected 15 runs from the final over bowled by Khawar.