HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal made a shaky start to their ICC World Cricket League Division-III campaign losing to the United States of America (USA) by 94 runs at the Somerset Cricket Club grounds in Bermuda on Sunday.
Opener Steven Taylor flayed Nepali bowling attack with a blazing 162 off 102 balls that lifted USA to a mammoth 366-6. Taylor clobbered 12 sixes and as many boundaries. With a mountain to climb, Nepal lost half their team for 106 runs by the 24th over before their innings folded at 272 all out with one ball to spare.
After the defeat Nepali skipper Paras Khadka was left disappointed. “Maybe a bigger ground would have made a difference, but Taylor batted extremely well, and I think that was one of the best innings we’ve encountered. The bowlers of both the teams had a really tough time,” said Paras.
Paras, however, was not giving up so easily. “This is the just the start, so we need to take positives from the game and move ahead. In the World Cricket League, every match is equally important and you cannot make excuses. You’ve got to adapt and adjust yourself accordingly,” he said.
Nepal needed a strong start in their reply but lost opener Anil Mandal for a duck in the second over. Subash Khakurel — who had made 115 against USA during their Division-IV match in Malaysia last year — fell for 23 after hitting three fours and a six in 27 balls. Elmore Hutchinson dismissed both Nepali openers.
No 3 batsman Gyanendra Malla (nine)was run out and, after Neil McGarrell had Binod Bhandari (four) and Pradeep Airee (14), Nepal’s score read 106-5 in 23.2 overs. Paras and Sharad Vesawkar then added some quick runs to give slim hope to Nepali camp. Paras hit nine fours and two sixes on his way to 64-ball 73 before Barrington Bartley dismissed the Nepali skipper ending the 69-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Sharad completed his half century in 38 balls before watching Basanta Regmi (seven) lost his wicket to Muhammad Ghous that left Nepal tottering at 198-7. Sharad continued to play big shots smashing Bartley and Huthinson for one six each but was bowled by Ghous in the 43rd over. Sharad made 72 off 61 with six sixes and four boundaries.
Shakti Gauchan and Sanjam Regmi then added 44 runs for the ninth wicket to delay the inevitable. Sanjam (14) was run out in the last over and a ball later Shakti fell to McGarrell after hitting two sixes and as many boundaries in his 47-ball 39. McGarrell returned with 3-42 from 9.5 overs.
Earlier, Nepal contained USA in the first seven overs conceding just 28 runs but once Taylor and fellow opener Orlando Baker hit Sanjam for 18 runs in the ninth over, there was no stopping the Americans. The duo led the strong foundation with a stand of 125 runs in 17 overs.
Basanta gave Nepal the breakthrough dismissing Baker for 37. Taylor completed his century off just 61 balls with a four off Paras in the 23rd over. Sanjam dismissed Taylor in the 35th over and USA were suddenly 273-6 in 40.1. But No 7 Timroy Allen began from where Taylor had left. Allen smashed 67 off 34 balls and along with McGarrell (22) shared an unbroken 93-run stand in the last 59 balls. Allen hit six sixes and four fours.
Basanta was the most impressive among the Nepali bowlers with figures of 46-2 from 10 overs. Shakti returned with 1-81, while Sanjam and seamer Amrit Bhattarai also had one scalp apiece.
In other matches on the opening day, Uganda defeated hosts Bermuda by 114 runs and Oman beat Italy by seven wickets.