KATHMANDU, Oct 13: Nepal lost the first match of the sixth round of the ICC World Cricket League Championship 2015-17 by 83 runs played at Mission Road Ground, Mong Kok. Ehsan Khan registered his career-best figures of five wickets for 17 runs wrapping up the second half of the Nepali batting after pace bowlers Aizaz Khan and Tanwir Afzal dent early blows to the Nepal chase.
Aizaz Khan was the enforcer-in-chief claiming important wickets of Gyanendra Malla, Paras Khadka and Dipendra Airee inducing poor shot selections. Nepal skipper top-scored for Nepal with 26 runs to his name including three fours. Nepal vice-captain had a decent start but failed to capitalize as he was dismissed mistiming a uppish drive on an Aizaz delivery on 21.
Aarif Sheikh and Sompal Kami tried to calm the storm but failed to spinner Ehsan Khan who was bowling in all the right areas. Binod Bhandari restored some grace but was short lived when he was caught at the longest part of the ground on 18 runs. He was the only batsman from Nepal to score a six in the match.
Nepal was all out for 111 runs in 34.5 overs submitting the first match to Hong Kong in a race to top four of the WCLC table.
Earlier, Nepal won the toss and elected to field. Sharad Vesawkar was ruled out ill and was replaced by debutant Susan Bhari. Opening bowlers Sompal Kami and Karan KC delivered a disciplined spell of bowling resulting in the crucial wicket of Anshuman Rath for a ten-ball-duck. Rath is the highest scorer of ongoing ICC WCLC. It was well-worked wicket as Karan KC persisted with a slightly shorter length with a line angling away from the left-hander. It tested Rath's patience as Malla completed the catch at the second slip. HK lost their first wicket in fourth over without adding any runs on the board.
Skipper Babar Hayat joined Jamie Atkinson at the crease and both carried a mini repair work especially Hayat counter attacking 35 runs from next six overs. He fell to a sharp fielding effort by Dipendra Airee from mid off region.
It was all spinners' show after the Hayat wicket as next couple of batsmen Nizakat Khan and Waqas Khan was out stumped by Sandeep Lamichhane and Basant Regmi respectively. They went to pick three and two wickets in their respective miserly spells that kept HK batsmen in check throughout the innings.
Jamie Atkinson made a well constructed 76 runs holding the HK one end smashing nine fours and a six.
It was the late cameo by pinch-hitter Tanwir Afzal scoring 38 runs including three fours and three sixes that rescued HK from a slump of eight wickets for 144 runs after Jamie Atkinson fell.
HK was all out for 194 runs in the last over of the innings.Karan KC bowled well with the new ball and was also equally effective in the slog overs picking up 1 wicket each in either part of the innings. Debutant Susan Bhari chipped in with a maiden and important wicket of Jamie Atkinson.
Nepal plays their next and final match on Sunday, October 15, 2017.