Nepal in highest-ever successful run chase
Skipper Paras Khadka scored a magnificent century and Sharad Vesawkar struck second successive fifty as Nepal defeated Namibia by three wickets in their second match of the ICC World Cricket League Championship here today.
Sent into bat first after Khadka won the toss, Namibia posted a total of 239-9 in 50 overs before the home side reached 240-7 on the penultimate ball of the innings.
Chasing a challenging total, Nepal lost openers Gyanendra Malla (22) and Naresh Budayair (six) with just 37 runs on the board. That brought Khadka in the middle along with Vesawkar, who anchored the innings to guide the team to victory in the first match.
Khadka greeted the roaring crowd with a towering six over the head of Zhivago Groenewald and struck a four in the same over to bring the cheering fans to their feet.
The duo added 167 runs, highest partnership for all wickets, for the third wicket to take the match away from Namibia.
The previous best partnership was 139 runs between Khadka and Anil Mandal in their three-run defeat at the hands of Scotland in the WCL Championship first-round match in August last year.
Khadka, who reached the triple figures with a straight six off Gerrie Snyman, fell to Groenewald, trapped leg before while trying to play a reverse sweep.
He struck a total of seven boundaries and five sixes in his 94-ball 103.
This was Khadka’s first century in List A matches and second overall for the national team. Khadka, whose previous best in List A was 77 runs, had scored his first hundred against Kuwait in the ACC Trophy Elite in the United Arab Emirates four years ago.
Khadka also became the second Nepali batsmen to score two centuries for the national team after Anil Mandal, who scored tons against Denmark (in 2012) and Scotland (in 2015).
Nepal were cruising with 45 runs needed from the last 10 overs with eight wickets in hand but a middle order collapse made it difficult for the team.
After the fall of Khadka, Nepal lost four wickets for 30 runs as Namibia sniffed the unlikely victory.But Vesawkar remained firm at the other end and kept the scoreboard ticking.
He anchored the innings and scored the winning runs on the second last delivery of the innings, remaining unbeaten on 74. The successful run chase of 240 runs was also the highest for Nepal.
Their previous best was 241 but that match had ended in a tie and Nepal had to share the ACC Trophy Elite title with the UAE in 2012.
Earlier, Namibia made a flying start with openers Stephen Baard (51) and Zane Green (47) putting up 95 runs in 20 overs before they lost five wickets for 19 runs.
They were reeling at 167-7 in 43 overs before the visitors added 72 runs in seven overs to post a challenging total.
Basant Regmi, Shakti Gauchan and Sandeep Lamichhane took two wickets each for Nepal, who will travel to the Netherlands for the fourth-round matches.
With the second win against Namibia, Nepal climbed to fifth position with six points in the eight-team standing.