Skipper Paras Khadka hit his first Twenty20 International half century as Nepal defeated Netherlands for the first time in the shorter version of the game to earn some solace in a four-match series which they lost 3-1.
In a dead rubber, Netherlands rested their frontline batsmen Michael Swart and Stephan Myburgh and it allowed Nepal to gain an upper hand with their full-strength bowling attack restricting the Dutch to 139-7 in 20 overs.
Paras’ 40-ball 54 was the cornerstone in Nepal’s victory as they replied with 141-7 with two balls to spare. Sompal Kami held his nerve to hand the historic win in the last over smashing a boundary off Ahsan Malik who had dismissed Pradeep Airee in the first ball of the over to serve as an anti-climax.
After back-to-back failures, Coach Pubudu Dassanayake put Subash Khakurel at the bench trying a new combination of Sagar Pun and Anil Mandal — playing his first match. Sagar smashed former South African all-rounder Roelof van der Merwe for a four in the first ball but was out in the next ball while going for another boundary.
Van der Merwe was playing his first match for the Netherlands after acquiring their passport on Monday. It was Merwe who had lifted the Dutch to a competitive total smashing 40 off 27 balls.
After the dismissal of Sagar, Gyanendra Malla played in his fine style hitting thee boundaries in a 22-ball 18 before he was trapped leg before. Anil’s first match of the series ended without much action has he made nine off 16 without hitting a boundary.
Binod Bhandari crossed double figures for the first time in the series making 13 off 14 but his dismissal left Nepal reeling at 76-4. Paras then shared 44 runs for the fifth wicket with Sharad Vesawkar (12) to take the team close to victory.
Paras completed his half century in the 17th over with a boundary off van Meekeren from 35 balls. Malik bowled Sharad but by then Nepal were approaching victory. Paras was next to go holing out a catch at short mid-wicket to Peter Borren of Mudassar Bukhari. Sompal stepped in an hit a four leaving Nepal with six to get from six balls.
Malik removed Airee to give some anxious moments to Nepali camp but Sompal held first to hit the boundary. Malik, who had taken four wickets on Thursday, once again was the pick of the bowlers with 3-25 from 3.4 overs.
Earlier, Nepal reduced Netherlands to 83-7 in 14.5 overs with Sagar picking up three wickets but Van der Merwe shared 56 runs for the eighth wicket with Michael Rippon to lift the total. Van der Merwe, who once opened the innings with Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Daredevils, smashed three fours and a six.
Rippon made 22 off 14 with two fours. Skipper Borren made 27 off 25, while opener Rahil Ahmed was the Dutch’s next best scorer with 25 off 34 that included two boundaries. Basanta Regmi also picked up two wickets for Nepal.