Paras shines with ball on ODI debut

Kathmandu, August 1

Nepal made the One Day International debut but were the losing side against the Netherlands at the VRA Ground in Amstelveen today.

Nepal squandered a strong start to face a 55-run defeat in the first ODI of the two-match series. Electing to bat first, the hosts were bowled out for 189 runs in 47.4 overs before Nepal were all out for 134 runs in 41.5 overs.

National team head coach Jagat Tamatta handed over the debut caps to the players — skipper Paras Khadka, vice-captain Gyanendra Malla, Shakti Gauchan, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar, Sompal Kami, Aarif Sheikh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Dipendra Singh Airee and Anil Sah — who were making their first-ever appearance in the ODI match.

Nepal had sealed the ODI status in March after they finished in the top three among the associate nations along with Scotland and the UAE in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 in Zimbabwe. The ICC granted the ODI status to four nations, also including the Netherlands, effective from June 1 for the next four years.

The Netherlands tour — four years after Nepal competed in the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh — was possible after the Dutch invited Nepal to play two-match series. The two countries featured in the tri-series, hosted by Marylebone Cricket Club, on June 29 although the series was hit by rain. Nepal and Netherlands shared the trophy after their third and final match of the series were washed out.

Nepal made a bright start with the ball when Sompal Kami became the first Nepali bowler to take an ODI wicket in the third over, reducing the Netherlands to 5-1. Kami bowled Daniel ter Braak (one) on the third ball of his second over.

Opener Stephan Myburgh (29) and Ben Cooper (20) then added 45 runs for the second wicket before Nepal claimed two quick wickets to reduce the Netherlands to 58-3 inside 12 overs.

Skipper Khadka trapped Cooper leg before wicket and Lamichhane accounted for Myburgh.

After Khadka took his second wicket dismissing Wesley Barresi, the Netherlands pair of Bas de Leede and Michael Rippon shared a partnership of 68 runs for the fifth wicket to take the match away from Nepal. The last six wickets then added 49 runs in almost 16 overs.

Rippon top scored for the Netherlands with 51 off 76 balls, hitting two fours, while Leede struck one four and a six in his 60-ball 30. Nepal skipper Khadka was the pick of the Nepali bowlers taking 4-26 from 10 overs, while Sompal Kami got 3-34 from 8.4 overs. Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane and Basant Regmi claimed one wicket each, while Shakti Gauchan failed to take a wicket in his last match outside Nepal. Gauchan, who has already announced his retirement, was economical though, conceding just 15 runs in his four-over spell.

Chasing a modest target, the Nepali batting line crumbled despite openers Gyanendra Malla and Anil Sah making a solid start. The openers posted 58 runs in 12 overs before Sah was caught by Wesley Barresi off Fred Klaassen for 21 off 32 balls that included three fours.

Malla and skipper Khadka added 27 runs for the second wicket before both were dismissed in a space of two runs, while Aarif Sheikh departed without adding to the score, making it 87-4 in 20 overs.

Dipendra Singh Airee tried to revive the innings but he did not get support from the other end as Nepal lost last five wickets for a paltry 28 runs. Sharad Vesawkar, who was injured while fielding, came in at No 10 and scored four runs.

Malla completed his half-century, scoring 51 off 61 balls that included eight fours, while Khadka scored 12 off 21. Airee struck two fours and a six in his 48-ball 33, while Shakti Gauchan remained unbeaten on nine off 44 balls.

Pieter Seelaar (3-20), Michael Rippon (3-23) and Fred Klaassen (3-30) shared nine wickets among them for the hosts.

Nepal, who need to play at least four ODI matches to enter the ICC Ranking, will play the second match of the series on Friday.