Kathmandu, October 15:
Nepal defeated Hong Kong by 165 runs on the third day of the ACC Premier League Tournament at the Tribhuvan University Stadium here today. Resuming the day at 188/6 Nepal declared their second innings at 223/8, setting the 305-run target for the visitors. Nepal scored 217/8 (declared) before restricting Hong Kong to 136 in the first innings. Hong Kong occupied the pitch for long but were ultimately dismissed for 139 in the last session of the day.
Earlier, Paras Khadkaâ€™s wicket prompted the Nepalâ€™s declaration in the 12th over of the morning session. Skipper Binod Das added 10 runs to his overnight 20 before Nadeem Ahmed had him caught by Afzal Haider in the eight over. Khadka added 18 to his second-day 69 before being Haiderâ€™s second victim.
Chasing the mammoth target of 305 in more than two-and-half sessions, Hong Kong was on the backfoot from the beginning. Skipper Das gave Nepal the breakthrough in the eighth over when he clean bowled Imran Idrees for five. Amrit Bhattarai claimed opener Mark Eames (20) in the 17th over after he took an easy catch on follow through. Hong Kong skipper Ravi Sujanani ran himself out in the 28th over and Nepal seemed in comfortable position after two more wickets fell with 64 runs on board.
After 24 overs of frustration, Binod Das took the new ball after 77 overs and the match ended quickly with fiery paceman Mehboob Alam effecting three dismissals out of the last four batsmen.
Alam struck with the third ball of the second spell when he bowled Irfan Ahmed ending 44-run partnership between Irfan and Roy Lamsam. Irfan scored 42 off 133 balls including a six and five boundaries. Das dismissed Lamsam (13) in the next over, while the last two wickets fell in successive balls the following over. Alam trapped James Atkinson leg before for naught in the 79.2 over and Nadeem Ahmed was run out the next ball.
Elated Das credited the win to his teamâ€™s allround performance. â€œParas, Alam and Sharad batted well and the bowlers did their job well,â€ said the skipper, who became the first Nepali bowler to take 50 wickets in multi-day version of the game on Saturday. Indicating to the seventh wicket partnership of Hong Kong, Das admitted that he was frustrated with their defiance but was confident of the win.
Nepal coach Roy Luke Dias also praised the performance of his team. â€œIt wasnâ€™t easy to dismiss the set batsmen but the new ball did the trick,â€ Dias said of the last session. He was happy with Alamâ€™s performance but wasnâ€™t satisfied with the spinners. â€œThe spinners failed to perform as their potentials,â€ he added.
Asked about the opening pair, Dias said that the team needed a permanent opening pair. â€œIn Kanishka Chaugainâ€™s absence, I did not have more options and chose Mahesh Chhetry to open with Paresh Lohani. But I think we need a good pair to open in coming matches,â€ Dias said.
Alam was declared man of the match. He scored 90 runs taking two wickets. Paras Khadka was adjudged the best batsman for his defiant 87 in the second innings. Nadeem Ahmed of Hong Kong won the best bowler award with the total 10 wickets. The hosts earned a total of 32 points from the match while Hong Kong managed 13 points. Nepal earned 14 bonus points for the win adding up 18 to their batting and bowling points.