Khadka’s maiden ODI ton inspires Nepal to first bilateral series win

Published On: January 29, 2019 07:53 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Jan 29: National cricket team captain Paras Khadka’s maiden century in One-Day International (ODI) cricket inspired Nepal to its first-ever bilateral series win in international cricket after securing win by four wickets in the third and final ODI match against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) played at ICC Academy in Dubai on Monday. 

Khadka scored 115 runs from 109 deliveries, which included 15 boundaries and a six chasing the total of 255 runs in 44.4 overs.

Sompal Kami smashed a six when as many runs were required to seal the match and series. Batting at number eight, he played an innings of unbeaten 26 runs from 25 deliveries, which included three boundaries. 

Sompal shared an unbeaten partnership of 40 runs with Aarif Sheikh who stayed not out on 21 runs from 24 deliveries. Aarif smashed two boundaries during his innings. 

Debutant Sundeep Jora, batting at number five, scored 19 runs from 20 deliveries which included a four and a six. He shared a partnership of 31 runs with Khadka after Nepal lost two quick wickets of Dipendra Singh Airee and Gyanendra Malla and was reduced to 98 runs for the loss of three wickets in 19.3 overs.

Malla gave Nepal a good start to the chase scoring 31 runs from 35 deliveries after losing Binod Bhandari early for 9 runs. The right handed opening batsman shared a partnership of 62 runs with Khadka for the second wicket which laid the foundation for chase. He smashed four boundaries during his cameo.

The UAE’s spin duo Imran Hiader and Ashfaq Ahmed shared two wickets each whereas skipper Mohammad Naveed and Qadeer Ahmed shared a wicket each.

Series winning skipper Khadka was adjudged player of the third ODI and player of the three-match series. He scored most runs in the series with 156 runs, 58 runs more than second placed UAE batsman Shaiman Anwar. He also picked up four wickets in the series with the most economical rate of 3.85 runs per over among those who bowled at least 15 overs in the series.

Earlier, Nepal won the toss and invited the UAE to bat first in the pitch helpful for fast bowlers in the first hour or so. Nepal started emphatically, dismissing both opening batsmen Ashfaq Ahmed and Chirag Suri for 11-ball and 17-ball ducks respectively. The UAE were struggling at 10-over stage with score of 14/2 as Nepali pace bowlers Kami and KC shared a wicket each in impressive opening spells.

The wicket-keeper batsman Ghulam Shabber and Mohammad Usman steadied the innings with gritty 50-ball 18 runs and 42-ball 26 runs respectively. Both shared a crucial partnership of 45 runs for the third wicket before CP Rizwan, Shaiman Anwar and Mohammad Boota played important innings to reach a total of 254 runs at the end of 50 overs. 

After Shabber and Usman’s back-to-back wickets on the score of 47 runs, Anwar and Rizwan shared a partnership of 100 runs for the fifth wicket followed by Anwar and Boota’s 80-run partnership for the sixth made sure the UAE got the highest first innings score of the series. Anwar played a handsome innings of 87 runs from 70 deliveries which included nine fours and two sixes. Similarly, Rizwan contributed patient 45 runs from 76 deliveries including five boundaries. 

Likewise, batting fireworks were provided by Boota’s unbeaten 31-ball 59 runs including five fours and four sixes. The UAE skipper Naveed scored 3-ball 11 runs to collect 43 runs in last two overs of the first innings to provide late surge to the total.

Nepal bowlers struggled in death overs but had bowled well at start of the innings. Karan KC and Khadka shared two wickets each, conceding 46 and 44 runs in their respective 10 overs. Similarly, Sompal Kami and Sandeep Lamichhane shared a wicket each but were expensive in their 9 and 10 overs, respectively, conceding 57 runs each.

Skipper Khadka was ecstatic after the win and thankful for the traveling fans who cheered the team throughout the historic series. “It feels really good. Our first series win. It gives us more responsibility to push ourselves in the future. And I would like thank our supporters for rooting for us at the ground.”
Nepal will play a three-match T20I series with the same side starting on Thursday.

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