Monday, January 28, 2019

Paras hits ton as Nepal beat UAE to secure maiden ODI series win

Skipper Paras Khadka smashed a debut One Day International (ODI) ton and propelled his team to a maiden overseas series win over UAE – after defeating the third and final match of the three-match – at the ICC Academy Oval in Dubai today. Khadka hit 115 runs in just 109 balls to become the first ever Nepali batsman to record ODI ton before being trapped leg before wicket (lbw) by Qadeer Ahmed in 38.5 overs.
Nepal opted to field first – after winning the toss – and restricted the hosts to a formidable score of 254/6 in the 50 overs. Nepal successfully followed its first ever ODI target of 254 runs – also the highest – in 44.4 overs losing six wickets to clinch the series.
Nepal – following the impossible looking score – clinched the victory by four wickets with thirty-two balls to spare. Khadka was out in lbw of Qadeer Ahmed’s spin delivery in 115 runs – with fifteen fours – off 109 balls, when the team still needed 40 runs for victory, which looked like the game went out of Nepal's hand.
But the lower order batsman Sompal Kami took away the game with a towering six to register the historic win. Sompal Kami and Aarif Sheikh combined for 40 unbeaten runs for the seventh wicket to take the team home.
UAE team was once reeling at 47/4 at one stage before the lower middle order steadied their innings, and posted a 254/6 in the 50 overs. Shaiman Anwar top-scored for the hosts on 87 runs – off just 70 balls with nine fours and two sixes – whereas Mohammad Boota remained 59 not out to pose a decent total on board.
Karan KC and Paras Khadka took two wickets each, whereas Sompal Kami and Sandeep Lamichanne claimed one each.
While batting Nepal lost its first wicket in 4.3 overs, with Binod Bhandari at 9 runs – caught by Ghulam Shabber off Mohammad Naveed – but skipper Paras Khadka and opener Gyanendra Malla stood firm on the crease and stabilised the inning. Malla scored 31 runs – off 35 balls – and debutant Sandeep Jora contributed 19 runs. Likewise, world record holder young batsman Rohit Kumar Paudel contributed 16 runs.
UAE’s Imran Haider, Ashfaq Ahmed took two wickets, whereas Mohammad Naveed and Qadeer Ahmed chipped in with a wicket each.
Earlier, Nepal had lost the opening match with three wickets, whereas won the second match by a wide margin of 145 runs to level the series 1-1. Skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel – in the second match – rewrote history as the youngest batsman to hit ODI fifty runs by overpowering Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and India’s Sachin Tendulkar’s record.
After gaining ODI status – after world cup qualifying games in Zimbabwe – Nepal toured to the Netherlands before the Gulf states for three ODIs and three T20 Internationals. They played a 1-1 draw in the Europe tour.
Though, Nepal – at present – is suspended by the ICC and is ineligible to hosts ODI matches in home, it ranks 15th in the ICC ODI ranking. The ODI series with UAE has also helped Nepali cricket a moral and confidence booster with couple of world records.

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