Playing without skipper Paras Khadka and regular opener Subash Khakurel, Nepal lost to Namibia by four runs in a thrilling warm-up match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers at the Burwood Park in Christchurch on Friday.
Namibia — coming into the match with a haul of experience in the ICC World Cricket League Championship — made 231-9 in 50 overs after they elected to bat first. Nepal were left in dire straits after they were reduced to 118-7 in 36.2 overs only to see them go so close after Binod Bhandari and Basanta Regmi shared 71-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
Bhandari spent some time at the crease before launching the attack and Basanta imitated Nepal’s top scorer before losing his wicket in the 45th over. Basanta smashed three sixes in the 43rd over bowled by BM Scholtz that brought Nepal back in the match.
Basanta lost his wicket while going for another big shot of L Klazinga and made 39 from 26 balls with two boundaries and four sixes. Bhandari shared another 20 runs with Shakti Gauchan and just as it seemed, he was going to take the match away from the Namibians the twist was there. Shakti and Som Pal Kami could only manage 18 runs from the last 17 balls.
When 11 runs were required off the last six, Nepal managed only six. Bhandari made 65 off 60 with eight boundaries and three sixes.
Opener Mahesh Chhetri (one) had lost his wicket early, while Anil Mandal made 19 and Sagar Pun contributed 21 off 20 with five boundaries. Stand in skipper Gyanendra Malla made 16, while Sharad Vesawkar (20) and Prithu Baskota scored 13.
Pradeep Airee continued his slide in form making just six runs. JJ Smit took three wickets for Namibia.
Earlier, Som Pal took the first three wickets reducing Namibia to 30-3 in 8.1 overs. SJ Baard and NRP Scholtz halted Nepal’s progress with a 90-run stand before Basanta bowled the latter to end the partnership.
Baard made 73 off 67 balls hitting nine boundaries and two sixes. Sagar soon got rid off LP Van der Westhuizen (four) but Scholtz pushed Namibia past 200-run mark sharing 55 runs for the fifth wicket with C Vilijoen (37).
Prithu removed Scholtz after the No 5 batsman made 79 off 110 balls with eight hits to the fence. Som Pal finished with the figures of 4-36 and Basanta took 2-44 from nine overs. Jitendra Mukhiya also had one scalp.