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Rohit, Aarif’s record partnership bails Nepal out against PNG

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.     

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