The Dutchmen chase down 207-run target set by the home side to register second victory


Nepal faced a three-wicket defeat at the hands of the Netherlands in the Bajaj Pulsar Tri-Nation T20I Series here at the TU Stadium today.

Batting first, Nepal scored 206-6 in their allotted 20 overs posting the second highest total in the shortest version of the game before the Netherlands reached 209-7 with three balls to spare. Despite the loss, Nepal are at the top of the table with four points, thanks to superior net run rate than the Netherlands, who also recorded their second victory.

Malaysia are yet to open their accounts.

Nepal openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh failed to continue the momentum they had in the first two matches after Gyanendra Malla opted to bat for the first time in the tournament. The openers had put on century stands in the first two matches but Sheikh was dismissed for a four-ball duck when he handed a catch to Ben Cooper at mid-on off Vivian Kingma in the last ball of the second over, in the third match with 20 runs on the board.

Bhurtel and Malla shared a 43-runs partnership for the second wicket before the skipper shot into the hands of Pieter Seelaar at deep mid-wicket off Bas de Leede. Malla struck two fours and a six in his 14- ball 20.

Bhurtel combined with vice-captain Dipendra Singh Airee to revive the innings with a 78-run stand for the third wicket. Bhurtel was dismissed for 46-ball 62 that included eight fours and a six but only after creating world record of three consecutive half centuries in the first three matches of T20I career. He achieved the feat when he reached 50 off 41 balls with the help of six fours and a six.

Airee struck three boundaries and five sixes his quick fire 60 off just 30 balls, while Kushal Malla clobbered three sixes in his seven-ball 18. Wicketkeeper Binod Bhandari and Sompal Kami added 28 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket to make sure Nepal cross 200-run mark for the second time. Previously, Nepal had scored 236 against Bhutan in the South Asian Games in 2019. Bhandari remained unbeaten on run-a-ball seven, while Kami, who holds the world record of scoring highest runs batting at No 10, hit two fours and a six in his 13- ball 21 not out.

Kingma and skipper Seelaar bagged two wickets each, while de Leede and Aryan Dutt claimed one apiece for the visitors.

In reply, Nepal made the breakthrough in the second over with 14 runs on the board after star legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane trapped Max O'Dowd leg before the wicket for nine runs. Tobias Visee (15) and Ben Cooper added 51 runs for the second wicket, while Cooper and de Leede shared a 68-run stand for the third wicket to take the match away from Nepal.

Nepal took two quick wickets when Lamichhane dismissed Cooper for 35-ball 55 that included 10 boundaries and Kushal Malla had Aryan Dutt for a three-ball duck reducing the Netherlands to 133-4. But de Leede and skipper Seelaar added 49 runs for the fifth wicket before the former single handedly took the team home. Seelaar scored 15-ball 31 hitting a four and three sixes.

The Netherlands needed 25 runs for the last 12 balls and de Leede hit Abinash Bohara for two sixes and a four on the way to collecting 19 from the penultimate over. Karan KC did take a wicket with the first ball of the final over but de Leede hit him for a six and four in the next two deliveries to complete the victory with three balls remaining.

De Leede remained unbeaten on 81 runs and his 42-ball knock included seven fours and five sixes.

Lamichhane was the pick of the Nepali bowlers taking 4-48 from four overs, while Karan KC, Abinash Bohara and Kushal Malla bagged one wicket each. The Netherlands will face Malaysia on Wednesday, while Nepal will play their last league round match against Malaysia on Thursday. Top two teams will advance to the final slated for Saturday.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 21, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.