Photo Courtesy: Ashmita Kunwar
Nepal was victorious in their second match by three wickets against Namibia in the ICC World Cricket League Championship on April 18 at the Tribhuvan University cricket ground, Kirtipur . This victory has brought high hopes for the Nepal Cricket Team to qualify for the qualifiers of the ICC world cup 2018 in Bangladesh.
Nepalese skipper Paras Khadka put Namibia into bat having won the toss. Zane Green and Stephan Baard laid a solid foundation through a 95 run opening partnership. Namibia, batting first, blazed to 105 for 1 and then lost heaps of wickets being 6 down for 136. A good contribution by Sarel Burger (43 of 60) helped Namibia reach 239 for 9. Sompal Kami was good whereas Sandeep Lamichhane, Paras Khadka along with other spinners bowled well.
Naresh Budayir and Gyanendra Malla gave Nepal a slow start. Sharad Vesawkar and Paras Khadka walked in at third and fourth respectively after the openers perished. Nepal was 37-2 in the 13th over. Paras Khadka batted aggressively and scored 103 runs in just 94 balls. Vesawkar who is known for his big hitting was pacing the innings well from the other end. Trying to reverse sweep a ball bowled by Namibian spinner Groenewald, Paras Khadka departed being judged Leg before wicket in the 41st over. His century was the 2nd century by a Nepalese batsman. Binod Bhandari came out swinging but could not last long.
It seemed like the foundation laid by Vesawkar and Khadka was good enough to lead Nepal to a comfortable victory. But there was still a twist in the tail. Nepal needed only 9 runs from 18 balls. Having got only 1 run from the 47th over, Nepal were still favorites needing only 8 runs from 12 balls. Sarel Burger was a lone ranger for Namibia. He took 2 wickets and gave only 2 runs in the penultimate over. Nepal were 7 down for 234. Having needed 6 runs of the final over, some sensible batting from Basanta Regmi and the winning shot from Vesawkar took Nepal home to a fabulous victory.
Indeed, this game turned out to be a nail bitter. Although it was a working day (Monday), many Nepalese appeared at the T.U. Ground to cheer for Nepalese Cricket Team. Having won both their games, Nepal went on to 5th position in the ICC World Cricket League championship. Nepal needs to finish within the top 4 to qualify for the ICC Cricket world cup qualifiers 2018 which will decide the other 2 teams to join 10 test playing nations for the World Cup in 2019.