Pak pace battery batters Nepal

Kathmandu, May 9:

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Academy defeated Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN)-XI by 109 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the three-match friendly series here today.

Put into bat first after CAN XI skipper Binod Das won the toss at the Tribhuvan University (TU) Stadium, the visitors overcame a shaky start before scoring 218/7 in 50 overs. The home side was packed for 109 runs in 34.2 overs, thanks to the pace attack of Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan, who rattled down the top order in no time.

“These (Nepali) players have never played against such pace,” conceded Nepal’s coach Roy Luke Dias. “The two pacers (Riaz and Khan) did all the tricks for the visitors,” he said.

“Anyways the three matches we are playing against such a strong side will definitely help my boys for the Division V tournament,” he declared. The Nepali team is preparing for the World Cricket League Division V Tournament to be held in Jersey later this month.

PCB Academy coach, Ijaz Ahmed said the Nepali team had a lot of potential. “I found a couple of medium pace and spin bowlers and batsmen who are technically good,” said the former Pakistan Test international. Asked about the day’s match, Ahmed said that Nepali players did extremely well in the beginning but gave away the advantage to them.

“The key factor was the experience. They had reduced us to 53-5 at one time, but I told my players to stick around and the home side blew away the advantage,” he said.

Earlier, Nepali bowlers put the visitors in trouble reducing them to 53-5 in 16 overs, but two crucial partnerships not only brought the visitors out of trouble but also guided them to a strong position.

Openers Raheel Majeed and Khalid Latif made a confident start putting on 33 runs before Paresh Lohani took a sharp catch off skipper Binod Das to dismiss Majeed for 22 runs in 7.5 overs. The visitors came into trouble after they lost four other wickets for just 20 runs in eight overs. Then came the saviour — Sarfaraz Ahmed. The wicketkeeper shared a 52-run stand for the sixth wicket with Ali Asad (16) and had an unbroken partnership of 100 runs for the eighth wicket with Wahab Riaz, who scored 37 off 39 balls hitting one four and three sixes.

Sarfaraz — who brought up his 50 off 68 balls in 94 minutes — went on to score an unbeaten 94 off 100 balls including eight fours and two sixes. Sarfaraz, who later returned to take three catches behind the stumps in the run-chase of CAN-XI, was named the man of the match.

In reply, the home side never looked comfortable against the pace battery with top five batsmen failing to even score in double figures. Opener Paresh Lohani (4), Mahesh Chhetri (6), Sharad Vesawkar (1), Gyanendra Malla (1) and Dipendra Chaudhary (1) were dismissed cheaply.

Vice captain Paras Khadka played some nice strokes before being bowled by Yasir Shah for 29. His 44-ball knock included three fours and a six. Basanta Regmi (18), Mehboob Alam (17) and Shakti Gauchan (14) put up some fight, but could not stay at the crease for long. No 8 batsman Alam entertained the home crowd with two huge sixes, while Basanta Regmi looked confident during his 33-ball innings.

Wahab Riaz was the peak of the PCB Academy bowlers with 3-19 off eight overs, and was ably supported by Sohail Khan (2-23), Imad Wasim (2-26) and Yashir Shah (2-34). The third and the final match of the series is on Sunday.