Nepal had a topsy-turvy 48 hours at Tribhuvan University ground in Kirtipur as they played both USA and Oman on consecutive days and while the bowlers exposed USA’s shortcomings against spin-bowling, the tactic backfired against Oman, as Nepal registered their maiden win in CWC League 2 Championship.
15-year-old Kushal Malla became the youngest ODI half centurion while on debut against USA, as his crucial knock of 50 runs, coupled with batting heroics of Binod Bhandari and bowling accolades of Karan KC and Sushan Bhari gave Nepal their first win in the League 2 Championship, as they defended their total of 190 by a good margin of 35 runs. However, it was a day to remember for Aqib Ilyas the next day, as he registered the maiden ODI century by a player from Oman after picking up a 4-for wicket haul, that derailed whatever momentum Nepal had carried from their win the previous day.
USA batting line-up came up horribly short against the spin barrage of Nepal, and while they managed somehow to thwart that in their opening game against Oman, their last two matches in the tour with both Nepal and Oman will be a tough challenge for them. Oman, on the other hand, take their place at the top of the points table in CWC League 2 Championship for now, with 7 wins in 9 completed matches so far for them.
Nepal will be happy for the fact that for once, many of their top and middle-order batsmen got starts together, which enabled them to reach a total of 249 against Oman, but there always has been consistency issues regarding the same and none of the batsmen went onto play a longer ininngs of substance/three-figure score to guide the team to a bigger total to defend. Nepal bowlers definitely would have fancied their chances, but an unbeaten 167-runs partnership for the 3rd wicket between Aqib Ilyas and Zeeshan Maqsood floored them to the ground with no face to salvage.
Having lost both their games against Oman, Nepal will now look forward to put together another winning performance against USA in the final game of the series, before they srart their overseas journey for the next 4-6 months, in which they will play another 12 ODIs in the Championship. USA, on the other hand, need to seriously look into their batting line-up issues and hope that their top-order dig in to give the rest of the line-up bit of breathing space to launch an attack in the final 15-20 overs.
Match#27: Nepal 190 all out in 49.2 overs (Binod Bhandari 59, Kushal Malla 50, Gyanendra Malla 21, Cameron Stevenson 3/30, Saurabh Netravalkar 2/28, Rusty Theron 2/41, Elmore Hutchinson 1/20) beat United States of America 155 all out in 44.1 overs (Ian Holland 75, Cameron Stevenson 19, Karan KC 4/15, Sushan Bhari 3/43, Sandeep Lamichhane 2/27, Kushal Malla 1/30) by 35 runs
Match#28: Nepal 249/8 in 50 overs (Gyanendra Malla 56, Paras Khadka 38, Binod Bhandari 35, Kushal Malla 28, Aarif Sheikh 28, Aqib Ilyas 4/36, Mohammad Nadeem 3/44) lost to Oman 250/2 in 47.2 overs (Aqib Ilyas 109 n.o, Zeeshan Maqsood 68 n.o, Khawar Ali 41, Kushal Malla 1/29, Sushan Bhari 1/41) by 8 wickets