Young Rohit Kumar Paudel and Aarif Sheikh notched up country’s first ever One Day International century partnership as Nepal narrowly beat Papua New Guinea for a shaky start in their third Tri-Series of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 in Sharjah on Tuesday.
Nepal were unable to heave a sigh of relief as there were more batting concerns after taking almost 50 overs to beat a side in the table who are now condemned to their 14th consecutive defeat. Nepal, to their part, have registered fifth victory and will now play hosts and a strong UAE side on Wednesday.
Outplayed by UAE in the first game, PNG managed to crawl to 204-8 in 50 overs before a middle order resistance from Aarif and Rohit kept Nepal in the game and No 7 Karan KC had to produce a cameo leading them to 208-8 with just four balls to spare.
Aasif Sheikh (16) top scored from the top order when Nepal caved in at 42-4 by the 15th over. Rohit and Aarif then shared exactly 100 runs for the fifth wicket before both fell in a space of 17 runs.
Man-of-the-match Rohit made an 83-ball 60 with four hits to the fence. Aarif fell one run short off his maiden half century. His patient 83-ball innings included just a boundary. Nepal were still in trouble and were bailed out by a 25-ball 29 from Karan who hit the winning six.
Norman Vanua, Alei Nao and Riley Hekure took two wickets each for PNG.
Earlier, PNG got off to a modest start on the back of a half century partnership from Tony Ura (27) and Lega Siaka (25). PNG were 91-4 and it was Charles Amini who pushed them towards a challenging total with a 74-run stand with Chad Soper.
Amini made an 82-ball 59 with seven hits to the fence. Soper chipped in 74-ball 35 and Vanua scored 23 off 12. Sompal Kami took 3-48 from 10 overs for Nepal. Aarif, skipper Sandeep Lamichhane and former captain Gyanendra Malla also had a wicket each.