Nepal’s Binod Bhandari and Deependra Singh Airee react during the T20I cricket match against Zimbabwe at the Indian Association Ground in Singapore on Friday. Photo Courtesy: Raman Shiwakoti
KATHMANDU, Sept 28: Player of the match Richmond Mutumbami and middle-order batsman Ryan Burl of Zimbabwe shared a match-winning partnership of unbeaten 69 runs to steer Zimbabwe to a win by five wickets in 18.1 overs chasing the target of 133 runs against Nepal in first match of the Singapore T20I Tri-series held at Indian Association Ground in Singapore on Friday.
Zimbabwe was put into early trouble by Sandeep Lamichhane after Sompal Kami conceded 13 runs in the first over. Brian Chari smashed Kami for three boundaries in the opening over of the second innings before getting run-out in a pinpoint throw by Dipendra Singh Airee.
Lamichhane was introduced in the second over and picked up three wickets in his first spell of three overs dismissing Regis Chakabva, skipper Sean Williams and Tinotenda Mutombodzi for zero runs.
Zimbabwe was reduced to 37 runs for the loss of four wickets in 4.1 overs.
After the loss of fifth wicket, Nepali bowlers were on top with Zimbabwe needing 51 runs from six overs. In next three overs Nepal conceded 47 runs. It was all but done, with Zimbabwe eventual victors by five wickets despite Nepal being in a good position.
Left-handed batsman Burl smashed three boundaries and two sixes during his 33-ball innings architecting the partnership with Mutumbami who took on Nepali bowling attack to finish off the match in a convincing manner.
Mutumbami took his time at the crease before unleashing four sixes and a four during his 37-ball stay scoring unbeaten 40 runs.
Khadka was the only other wicket-taker from Nepal dismissing Timycen Maruma for 12 runs off 21 deliveries.
Earlier, Nepal won the toss and elected to bat first in the first international night match since the ICC World T20 at Bangladesh in 2014.
Nepal struggled at the start of the innings losing debutant Ishan Pandey for a boundary (four runs), off eight deliveries, in the second over of the match.
Skipper Khadka followed soon scoring 18 runs off 22 deliveries which included three boundaries. Tendai Chatara and Ryan Burl registered the wickets.
Nepal was reduced to 38 runs for the loss of three wickets after Wellington Masakadza caught and bowled Aarif Sheikh for eight runs off 11 deliveries.
The dismissal of second debutant of the match Kushal Malla for two runs off six deliveries further pushed Nepal in back-foot at 55 runs at the start of 11th over.
However, newly picked vice-captain Dipendra Singh Airee held one end to score 40 runs facing 33 deliveries smashing five boundaries during the innings. Sundeep Jora, the world record holder for youngest half-centurion in T20I cricket, contributed 17 runs off 15 deliveries.
Sompal Kami, coming to bat at number eight, provided the much needed boost smashing three sixes during his 14-ball stay and remained unbeaten on 25 runs.
Likewise, Binod Bhandari struggled his way to 11 runs off 12 deliveries which included a boundary.
Both shared an unbeaten partnership of 37 runs to take Nepal’s total to 132 runs for the loss of six wickets at the end of 20 overs.
Zimbabwe skipper Sean Williams picked up a brace whereas pacer Neville Madziva supported with a wicket.