Nepal lose to Oman, again

Kathmandu, February 9

Nepal faced an eight-wicket defeat against Oman in their third match of the Tri-Nation Series of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 here at the TU Stadium today.

Invited to take the first strike, Nepal posted 249-8 in their allotted 50 overs before Oman reached 250-2 with 16 balls to spare riding on scintillating century from Aqib Ilyas. The 250-run target was the highest posted by Nepal in One Day Internationals surpassing the previous best of 243 runs against the United Arab Emirates in the second of the three-match series in January.

With the victory, Oman moved to the top of the table with 14 points from nine matches, while the United States of America are at the second place with 12 points in the seven-team standing.

Scotland are third with nine, followed by Namibia (eight), UAE (seven). Nepal are at the sixth place with two points, while Papua New Guinea have not been able to open the accounts in eight matches.

The seven participating teams will play 36 ODIs in the three-year cycle and top three will make it to the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers.

In their third ODI match on the home soil, Nepal made a mediocre start with openers Subash Khakurel (22) and Gyanendra Malla putting up 48 runs before Paras Khadka combined with skipper to add 59 runs for the second wicket to take the total past three figures in 23 overs.

Nepal lost former skipper Khadka for 34-ball 38 that included six boundaries and a six, while vice-captain Dipendra Singh Airee was out for a duck in the second straight match.

Skipper Malla completed his second ODI half century before being out for 56 off 76 balls that included six fours and a six.

Aarif Sheikh and Kushal Malla contributed 28 runs each and they added 39 runs for the fifth wicket. Malla, who entered record books yesterday when he became the youngest batsman in the world to score a half century, struck two each fours and sixes in his 24-ball knock.

Binod Bhandari struck five fours in his 47-ball 35, while Karan KC (10) and Sandeep Lamichhane (10 not out) also contributed in double figures. Lamichhane and debutante Kamal Singh Airee, who remained unbeaten on nine, shared the 19-run partnership for the unbroken ninth wicket.

Aqib Ilyas was the pick of the Oman bowlers taking 4-36 from 10 overs and he was ably supported by Mohammad Nadeem, who grabbed 3-44 from eight overs.

In reply, Ilyas and skipper Zeeshan Maqsood shared 167-run partnership for the unbroken third wicket to guide their team to victory.

Ilyas, who was dropped by Aarif Sheikh at point on 37 runs off Karan KC, scored unbeaten 109 off 108 balls that included 12 boundaries and a six. Maqsood scored 68 not out off 79 balls hitting eight fours.

Opener Jatiner Singh (23) and Khawar Ali (41) also chipped in valuable runs.

Singh struck three fours in his 41-ball knock, while Ali hit six boundaries in his 56-ball innings. Sushan Bhari and Kushal Malla took one wicket each for the home side.

Nepal will play their fourth and final match of the series against the USA on Wednesday. Nepal beat the USA by 35 runs in their previous match yesterday. USA will be looking for their first victory of the series when they face Oman on Tuesday.