Nepal beat Dutch, avoid whitewash

KATHMANDU: Nepal defeated the Netherlands by three wickets in the fourth and final match of the Twenty20 International series in Rotterdam on Friday.

Batting first, the hosts scored 139-7 in 20 overs before Nepal reached 141-7 with two balls to spare. The win helped Nepal avoid whitewash in the four-match series after the Netherlands won the first three matches.

Sompal Kami struck a boundary off the fourth ball of the final over to complete the victory after skipper Paras Khadka had laid the foundation with a solid half century. Khadka fought a lonely battle with a 40-ball 54 that included six boundaries. Khadka’s deputy, Gyanendra Malla was the second best contributor with 18 off 22 balls including three fours. Binod Bhandari (13) and Sharad Vesawkar (12) scored in double figures.

Ahsan Malik was the pick of the Netherlands bowlers taking 3-25, while Roelof van der Merwe claimed 2-27 for the hosts.

Earlier, the Netherlands recovered well after a shaky start. The hosts were reduced to 25-3 before opener Rahil Ahmed and skipper Peter Borren steadied the ship with a 42-run partnership for the fourth wicket. The Dutchmen then lost four wickets for 16 runs to be 83-7 but Roelof van der Merwe and Michael Rippon added 56 runs for the unbroken eighth wicket partnership as the hosts put on a respectable total on the board.

Sompal Kami made the first breakthrough in the third over when he bowled Toblas Visee (five) before Sagar Pun dismissed Ben Cooper (eight) and Wesley Barresi was run out to leave the hosts reeling at 25-3. Ahmed, who scored 25 off 34 hitting two fours and Borren (25-ball 27), were out in the space of 10 runs. Pun then struck twice in the 15th over to dismiss Pieter Seelar and Mudassar Bukhari to reduce the hosts to 83-7.

At a time when the hosts were staring at a low total, van der Merwe and Rippon scored 56 runs off the last five overs in their unbeaten stand. Van der Merwe struck three boundaries and a six in his unbeaten 40 off just 27 balls, while Rippon scored not out 22 off 14 balls that included two boundaries.

Pun was the most successful Nepali bowler taking 3-26 off four overs, while Basant Regmi claimed 2-31 and Kami bagged 1-31.

Nepal will now leave for Ireland to participate in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers. Nepal, who qualified for their maiden World Cup in 2014, will play against Ireland, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, USA and Jersey in Group A.

Afghanistan, the UAE, Netherlands, Scotland, Canada, Kenya and Oman are in Group B. Top six teams will qualify for the World Cup to be held in India next year.