Nepal dominate Hong Kong on first day

Kathmandu, October 13:

Mehboob Alam and Sharad Vesawkar scored half centuries as Nepal dominated Hong Kong and took a 143-run lead on the first day of the three-day match under ACC Premier League Tournament here at the Tribhuvan University Stadium today. Nepal declared its first innings at 217/8 after 78 overs and then reduced the visitors to 74/7. At the end of the day, Nepal accumulated 7.5 points, while Hong Kong earned five points.

Put into bat after Hong Kong skipper Ravi Sajanani won the toss, Nepal struggled before Alam and Vesawkar took the batting responsibility. Nepal came under pressure after Hong Kong used spinners from both the ends and lost the opening pair of Paresh Lohani (14) and Mahesh Chhetry (13) at the score of 37.

Paresh was the first to go when he failed to read left arm spinner Najeeb Amar’s ball and was clean bowled in the last ball of the 18th over. Three balls later, Chhetry was caught at first slip by R Lamsam off Nadeem Ahamad, who returned with 5-67 off 23 overs. That brought Alam and Vesawkar at the crease and the pair added 89 runs for the third wicket. Alam was on fire hitting three sixes four boundaries in his 100-ball 61 with Vesawkar being his silent partner. Alam, who was lucky to be dropped by Imran Idrees at mid off when he was at 46, raised his half-century with a four. He hit two sixes and six fours to bring up his fifth off 82 deliveries.

After Alam was bowled by Nadeem Ahamad in the 49th over and Gyanendra Malla (1) became

Ahamad’s third victim, it was Vesawkar’s turn to spoil Hong Kong party. Vesawkar added 36 runs for the fourth wicket with Malla, while he shared a 42-run partnership for the fifth wicket with vice captain Paras Khadka (15).

This was Vesawkar’s second consecutive half-century in three-day tournament after he made 89 against The UAE last year. Vesawkar, who took 132 balls to raise his fifty, hit a six and eight fours.

In reply, Hong Kong made a disastrous start when the hosts reduced them to 28/4 by 12th over. Nepal skipper Binod Das was the chief destroyer when he bowled Imran Idrees for just five runs when the score had just crossed the double figures. Opener Mark Eames was run out by a sharp piece of fielding by Sanjam Regmi when Eames pushed for the second run at the team total of 28.

The visitors received another jolt when Adam Gunthorp was run out by Raj Kumar Pradhan off Amrit Bhattarai’s bowling and the score became 28/4 after Paras Khadka took a sharp catch to dismiss Roy Lamsam at first slip off Das. Afzal Haider (14 not out) showed some courage against the Nepali spinners when he hit leg spinner Raj Kumar Pradhan (1-18) for two boundaries that also saved his team from follow-on. Offspinner Sanjam Regmi and Paras Khadka also got a wicket each. Haider and Najeeb Amar (not out 9) will continue Hong Kong’s first innings reply on Saturday.