Nepal beat Kenya by 3-wicket, inch closer to 2019 WC qualifier

KATHMANDU: Nepal romped to three wickets victory over Kenya in a last ball thriller of the innings during the ongoing ICC World Cricket League Divsion II played in Windhoek, on Monday.

In the last over of the innings, Nepal still required six runs, with four wickets in hand to chase down 178 runs amassed by Kenya.

However, the game went down to wire after set batsman Rohit Kumar Paudel nonchalantly ran himself out at non strikers end while trying to steal a single off the fourth ball.

With the equation balancedly poised, Nepal still needed two runs off last two deliveries to take the team home and inch closer of sealing a berth at the 2019 World Cup qualifier to be held next month in Zimbabwe.

NM Odhiambo bowled a dot ball to Sompal Kami in the penultimate delivery with just two runs away of sealing an emphatic victory over the African nation.

Nepal sealed the much needed victory after Sompal Kami tucked last ball of the innings away to leg side and fielder coming from deep fails to pick it up cleanly leaving Nepali batsmen enough time to scamper for second run.

The top two team from the ICC WCLD II will make it to the World Cup qualifier.

After winning the toss, skipper Paras Khadka opted to field first in a crucial encounter of the campaign with a place at world cup qualifier at stake.

Kenya set a formidable target of 178 runs to Nepal riding on 65 runs partnership shared by opening batsmen before 17-year-old leg spinner Sandeep Lamichanne cleaned up Alex Obanda, who made 41 runs in 46 balls with five fours.

Irfan Karim top scored for the Kenyans with 42 runs off 100 balls.

Man-of-the-match Lamichanne bamboozled Kenyan batsmen with five wicket haul of his leg spin bowling.  He was pick of the bowlers with 10-5-20-5.

Basanta Regmi, Sompal Kami and Sarad Vesawkar chipped in with a wicket each.

Debutant Anil Kumar Sah was drafted in to resurrect poor batting form of the team, however, he fell for a first ball golden duck after feathering a faint edge to a away swinging delivery off Ringera to wicket keeper Irfan Karim in the 1.3 over.

At one stage, Nepal were reeling at 14/3 before skipper Paras Khadka and Sarad Veswakar combined for 55 runs partnership for the fourth wicket. Khadka scored gritty 42 runs off just 44 balls with three fours and two towering sixes.

Khadka nicked an edge to wicket keeper off Nelson Odhiambo delivery which nipped away after pitching in line.

Nepal still required 109 for victory off 32 overs. Sarad Veswakar senior pro of the team failed again with the bat as he made painstaking 19 runs in 57 balls with a single hit to the fence.

Nepal's victory was engineered by lower order batsmen Aarif Sheikh and Rohit Kumar Paudel who shared match winning sixth wicket partnership of 87 runs.

Aarif Sheikh scored 42 runs in 82 balls with two fours while Paudel top scored with 47 runs off 86 balls with a single four.

Emmanuel Ringera took three Nepali scalps while Odhiambo brothers and Ngoche chipped in with a wicket each.

Nepal will take on the table topper Canada in their last encounter of the campaign on February 14 at the same venue. Both the teams have six points but Canada sit on top with better run rate to Nepal.

Earlier, Nepal sealed one wicket thrilling triumph over the hosts Namibia, lost to Oman by six wickets before returning to winning ways with victories over UEA and Kenya.