Paras steers Nepal to maiden ODI series win
Kathmandu, January 28
Skipper Paras Khadka scored a century as Nepal defeated the United Arab Emirates by four wickets in the third One Day International match to win the series 2-1 for their historic victory in Dubai today.
Khadka won the toss and put the UAE into bat at the ICC Academy grounds. The UAE recovered from 47-4 to post 254-6 in their allotted 50 overs. In reply, Khadka led Nepal to 255-6 with 32 balls to spare. It happens to be the first time that Nepal won an ODI match while chasing the target.
Nepal had faced a three-wicket defeat in the first match on Saturday before thumping the UAE by 145 runs to level the series on Saturday. The two teams will now play three-match Twenty20 International series starting on January 30.
Khadka became the first Nepali cricketer to score a century in ODIs. He led the chase with a scintillating 115 off just 109 balls with the help of 15 boundaries and a six. He reached the three-figure mark in 96 balls when he pulled Imran Haider for a boundary on the leg side.
Khadka was finally trapped leg before the wicket by Qadeer Ahmed when Nepal still needed 40 runs to win. Aarif Sheikh (21) and Sompal Kami (26) took the team home without further loss in 44.4 overs. Opener Gyanendra Malla (31) and débutante Sandeep Jora (19) also chipped in valuable runs for the team.
Before the UAE tour, Nepal had played just three one dayers that included a two-match series against the Netherlands after sealing the ODI status in March. Nepal’s first-ever ODI series in Amsteelven had ended in a 1-1 draw in August. So far, Nepali cricketers have scored one century and five half centuries in ODIs. Rohit Kumar Paudel became the youngest cricketer to score an ODI half century in the second match against the UAE on Saturday.
The win takes Nepal to 15th position in the ICC rankings.
Skipper Khadka lauded the team effort in chasing down the highest total. “Once you become an ODI team, you need to chase 270-80 runs. I think everybody chipped in important runs and we were able to chase 255, our highest chase ever in international cricket,” Khadka said.
Khadka also hoped the team would get to play international series often.
Asked about his innings, Khadka said, “I had missed out on couple of innings despite getting good starts. Asia Cup Qualifiers also did not go well. I am glad that I managed to get that 100 and helped the team win.”