Nepal lost to an experienced Gloucestershire 2nd XI side by four wickets in their third practice match of the England tour in a match where skipper Paras Khadka got back to his best with an unbeaten half century.
Paras made 73 not out from 54 balls at the Bath Cricket Club grounds as Nepal posted their tour-high 170-4 in 20 overs. Gloucestershire squad included five First Class players including Australian recruit Peter Handscomb and experience counted when they reached 171-6 with one over to spare.
Handscomb, having smashed a century in last year’s Australian Big Bash League, smashed 54 off just 35 balls but involved in crucial partnerships that eased the pressure off Gloucestershire lower middle order.
Karan KC gave Nepal the early breakthrough removing Gareth Roderick and GT Hankins with just 31 runs on the board. Handscomb shared 33 runs for the third wicket with Brandon Gilmour who hit 22 off 22 with two fours and two sixes.
After Sagar Pun dismissed Gilmour, Handscomb took the responsibility and together with Miles Hammond shared 64-run stand for the fourth wicket that proved the cornerstone for their team’s victory.
Handscomb hit five fours and three sixes before losing his wicket to Karan, while Sompal Kami got rid of Hammond after the batsman chipped in with a 28-ball 38 with four fours and a six. Nepal soon got the wicket of new man Cameron Herring (six) through Basanta Regmi reducing Gloucestershire to 144-6 in 16 overs.
However, Marc Lezar (18 not out) and Joe Barrett (12 not out) held their nerves to guide their team safely home. Lezar struck 18 off 10 with two fours and a six.
Paras getting into the bulk of runs was a better sign for Nepal who now head to the Netherlands for a four-match Twenty20 International bilateral series against the Dutch that begins from Tuesday to June 3. His performance against Gloucestershire will also be key for Nepal as they bid for a second consecutive ICC World Twenty20 berth through the Qualifiers in Scotland and Ireland beginning from July 9.
After losing opener Subash Khakurel (two) and Gyanendra Malla (14) early in the game, Paras consolidate the team total with a 49-run partnership for the third wicket with Sagar Pun. Sagar finally continued to score runs making 22 off 32 with two fours and a six.
The crucial stand of the day for Nepal came when Paras added another 65 runs with Sharad Vesawkar (12) guiding the team to a modest total. Paras was major contributor in the stand accounting for 49 runs. Pradeep Airee made some blistering hits in the last over hitting 16 off six with one four and a six. Paras hit nine boundaries and two sixes.