Double delight: After ODI, Nepal clinch T20 series

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OVER THE MOON: (From right) Nepal’s Karan KC, Sompal Kami, Binod Bhandari and substitute fielder Bhim Sarki celebrating victory over the United Arab Emirates in the third and final T20 International match of the series, in Dubai, on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Photo: courtesy: Cricketing Nepal

Kathmandu, February 3

Nepal national cricket team followed up the first-ever One Day International series win with the maiden Twenty20 International victory over the United Arab Emirates at the ICC Academy in Dubai today.

Nepal, who had defeated the home side 2-1 in the ODI series, beat the UAE by the same margin to win the T20I series, coming from behind on both occasions. In the three-match T20I series, Nepal lost the first game by 21 runs and levelled the rubber with a four-wicket victory in the second. The Himalayan nation then edged past the UAE by 14 runs in the rain-curtailed third and final match today to seal the series.

Invited to take the first strike in a match that was reduced to 10-overs-a-side, Nepal posted 104-7 before restricting the hosts to 90-8. Skipper Paras Khadka, who opened the innings with Pawan Sarraf, once again led from the front with the top score of 14-ball 29 that included four boundaries and a six.

After losing a couple of wickets, middle-order batsmen Sundeep Jora and Binod Bhandari played crucial knocks to take the team past three-figure mark. While Jora struck three sixes in his 11-ball 28, Bhandari scored a quick-fire 21 off 13 balls hitting two fours and a six.

In reply, the UAE got off to a flier after Ghulam Shabber hit Sandeep Lamichhane for a six and two fours to collect 20 runs from the first over. The UAE were well on course for victory before Karan KC brought Nepal back into the match and Abinash Bohara ensured the victory.

Apart from winning their maiden series in both formats and breaking into the ICC ODI ranking, the UAE tour was a goldmine of personal achievement for Nepali cricketers. Rohit Kumar Paudel became the youngest cricketer to score half century in ODIs, while Sundeep Jora did so in T20Is and skipper Khadka hit Nepal’s first-ever ODI century.

Skipper Khadka described the tour as an amazing experience. “Amazing two weeks of cricket…Very proud of the effort everyone has put in…Hope to continue this in future as well,” Khadka wrote on his Facebook.

Nepal played their second series since earning the ODI status in June after the team finished as one of the three leading associate nations in the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. Nepal’s first-ever two-match ODI series against the Netherlands had ended in a 1-1 draw in August.


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