Nepal thrash UAE, level ODI series

Kathmandu, January 26

Rohit Kumar Paudel became the youngest cricketer to score One Day International half century, while Sompal Kami and Sandeep Lamichhane shared nine wickets between them as Nepal thrashed the United Arab Emirates by 145 runs to level the ODI Series at the ICC Academy grounds in Dubai today.

Batting first, Nepal posted 242-9 in 50 overs before packing the home side to a paltry 97 runs in 19.3 overs. The three-match series in now level at 1-1 and the final game is slated for Monday. The two teams will then play three-match Twenty20 International series from January 31.

Nepal posted the fighting total after the batsmen played responsible innings following their disastrous performance in the first match. Middle order batsman Paudel entered the record books for scoring the half century at the age of 16 years and 216 days. Playing his third ODI match, Paudel — who replaced Basnat Regmi for the second match — picked up double off Imran Haider to reach 50 off 55 balls.

Openers Gyanendra Malla and Binod Bhandari set the tone with a 61-run partnership in 15 overs. Bhandari, who scored 21 off 46 balls hitting two fours, was the first to go, while Malla departed in the 19th over after scoring 44 off 61 balls that included four boundaries.

Dipendra Singh Airee (10) departed cheaply, while Pawan Sarraf (eight) followed him to the pavilion soon. Nepal were reduced to 113-5 in 29 overs when skipper Paras Khadka was dismissed for 21 off 31 balls.

Aarif Sheikh and Paudel then steadied the innings with an 82-run partnership for the sixth wicket before the former was trapped leg before by Imran Haider for 29 off 49 balls that included two fours. Paudel was the next to go but not before he completed his maiden ODI half century. Paudel struck seven fours in his 58-ball 55.

Karan KC hammered two sixes and a four his 11-ball 18, while Sandeep Lamichhane remained unbeaten on 14 off 10 balls that included two boundaries. Lamichhane and Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi (three) added 17 runs for the unbroken final wicket.

Amir Hayat (3-41) and Imran Haider (3-54) shared six wickets between them, while Mohammad Naveed, Zahoor Khan and Ashfaq Ahmed took one wicket each for the home side.

Chasing a 243-run target, the UAE top order was destroyed by Kami before Lamichhane cleaned up the tail. Kami struck in the sixth ball of the innings when he bowled Chirag Suri (naught).

Kami had Ghulam Shabber (two) caught by Aarif Sheikh in the third over and trapped Shaiman Anwar (naught) in the fifth over and took a took a return catch to dismiss Ashfaq Ahmed in the first ball of the seventh over. Kami took a wicket each in his first four overs to reduce the home side to 29-4 inside in 6.1 overs.

At a time when the UAE were building the innings, Lamichhane dealt a triple blow in the 15th over to reduce the hosts to 57-7. Lamichhane trapped Chundangapoyil Rizwan leg before the wicket in the second ball before dismissing Fahad Nawaz, also a LBW, two balls later. He then had Amir Hayat caught by Rohit Paudel to end the over with a bang — triple wicket maiden.

After Aarif Sheikh ran UAE skipper Mohammad Naveed out, Lamichhane struck again to dismiss Muhammad Usman, the highest scorer of the innings with 26 off 39 balls that included four fours and a six. Kami then returned to complete his five-wicket haul when he had Zahoor Khan caught by Lamichhane in the 20th over.

Kami returned with the figures of 5-33 from 6.3 overs and that also earned him the man-of-the-match award, while Lamichhane took 4-24 from four overs.