Cricketers bowl over fans on Valentine’s Day

  • Win last-ball thriller, as well as hearts of their fans back home
  • Book spot in WC Qualifiers

Kathmandu, February 14

Nepali cricketers won the hearts of their fans on Valentine’s Day as they registered one-wicket win over Canada in the ICC World Cricket League Division-II to book a berth in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers to be hosted by Zimbabwe from March 4 to 25.

In the must-win match played at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek, Namibia, Nepal sealed victory on the last ball after Karan KC’s heroics — man-of-the match KC scored 31-ball 42, cracking three boundaries and four sixes.

Put into bat, Canada scored 194-8 in their allotted 50 overs before Nepal made 195-9 on the last ball of the 50th over.

The victory meant Nepal topped the table with eight points, while the United Arab Emirates defeated hosts Namibia by 19 runs and finished runners-up with six points.

The last two overs were crucial for Nepal as they needed 21 runs with the last pair of KC and Sandeep Lamichhane on the crease. However, KC scored 12 runs hitting a six and a boundary, while Lamichhane added one from the over, leaving Nepal with eight runs to win from six balls.

Cecil Pervez bowled four dot balls in the last over, but KC smashed a six on the fifth ball and Pervez bowled a wide to tie the scores with one ball remaining. KC then scored one run off the last ball to seal the nail-biting win. KC and Lamichhane, who scored five runs off 18 balls, shared an unbroken partnership of 51 runs for the last wicket.

Earlier, Nepal made a disastrous start, as they lost two wickets in the sixth over with only 22 runs on the board. Cecil Pervez had opener Gyanendra Malla (nine) caught by Nitish Kumar and had skipper Paras Khadka caught by Gunasekera on the next ball for a duck.

However, another opener Dilip Nath, who scored 41 runs off 68 hitting five boundaries, shared a 50-run partnership with Dipendra Singh Airee (18) for the third wicket to revive the innings before being caught behind by Hamza Tariq off Pervez in the 22nd over.

Canada had reduced Nepal to 144-9 inside 43 overs and were one wicket away from the win but KC had other ideas and saw his team past the winning line.

Earlier, Canada reached the fighting total after Srimantha Wijeratne remained not out on 103 runs off 152 balls that included eight boundaries.

Nepal’s Basant Regmi finished with 3-34 and Sandeep Lamichhane picked up 2-40, while Karan KC and Sharad Vesawkar claimed one wicket each.