Lamichhane, Bhari star for Nepal

Kathmandu, February 12

A couple of world records were shattered as Nepal recorded an eight-wicket victory over the United States of America in the Tri-Nation Series match under the ICC Cricket World Cup League2 here at the TU Stadium today.

Nepali bowlers backed skipper Gyanendra Malla’s decision to field first as the spin duo of Sandeep Lamichhane and Sushan Bhari shone with the ball to dismiss the USA for a paltry 35 runs in 12 overs. In reply, the home side raced to 36-2 in just 5.2 overs to record the victory with 268 balls to spare, making it the shortest completed One Day International match that ended after 17.2 overs in one hour and 39 minutes.

The USA faltered to alltime low total beating the previous score of 65 runs scored against Australia, while they also equalled the lowest total of 35 in One Day International matches.

Zimbabwe were also bowled out for 35 runs by Sri Lanka in 2004 but that was in 18 overs. Nepal also set the record of taking least number of balls to bowl out an opponent in ODIs breaking the previous mark of 83 balls taken by Afghanistan against Zimbabwe in 2017.

Nepal’s star legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane claimed 6-16 from six overs, his career best figures taking him to the top among his national team compatriots. Sompal Kami is the first Nepali bowler to complete five-wicket haul in ODIs when he took 5-33 against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai earlier this year. Left-arm spinner Sushan Bhari moved to third after he took 4-5 in three overs.

Invited to take the first strike, the US batsmen failed to cope the spin attack from home side. The globe-trotting legspinner Lamichhane, who shared the new ball with Karan KC, made the first breakthrough when he had Ian Holland caught at slip by   Paras Khadka in the last ball of the second over.

Bhari then dismissed top-scorer Xavier Marshall, caught at slip by Khadka again, to trigger the collapse before the visitors lost nine wickets in the space of 12 runs.

The lone US batsman to score in double figures, Marshall struck two fours in his 22- ball 16.

In reply, Nepal lost openers Gyanendra Malla (one) and Subash Khakurel (naught) with just two runs on the board before Khadka and Dipendra Singh Airee took the team home without further loss adding 34 runs for the unbroken third wicket.

Former skipper Khadka hit three boundaries and a six in his 12-ball 20 not out, while Airee hit Nosthush Kenjige for a six over longon to complete the victory as he remained unbeaten on 11-ball 15 that also included two fours.

After the completion of the series, Oman — who won all four matches — moved to the top of the seven-team table with 16 points from 10 matches, while USA lost all four games and slipped to second with 12 from 12 games.

Scotland are third with nine points, followed by Namibia (eight) and the UAE (seven). Nepal, who played their first of the nine tri-nation series of the League2, accumulated four points from the two wins over the USA, while Papua New Guinea are yet to open their account. Each team will play 36 ODI matches in the three-year cycle and top three will advance to the World Cup qualifiers.