Kathmandu/Cricnepal: Nepal tasted the first defeat of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers campaign after being defeated by 35 runs against Papua New Guinea in UAE on Thursday.
With the loss, Nepal went two steps down standing third in the points table with net run rate of +0.669. Afghanistan with all three wins is in top with Netherlands ahead off the net run rate of +0.716.
Winning the toss, Nepal opted to feld first. Fielding somehow proved to be right at the beginning for Nepal, but the continuous attacks from P.N.G. batsman put them in a strong position as they posted the target of 138 runs to win hoping Nepal.
The former England batsman Geraint Jones scored 32 runs off 35 balls to fight for P.N.G. Mahuru Dai was sent for lbw by Basanta Regmi as forth wicket.
However, Chris Amini remained invaluable for P.N.G as being unbeaten in 38 runs off 32 balls that included two big sixes. Jones earlier played a four and a six to his 35 balls innings before going for a catch out in the bowling of Mahaboob Alam. From 81 for 5, P.N.G put up a good batting posting a good 137 runs.
Basanta Regmi and Shakti Gauchan grabbed two wickets each while Chandra Sawad, Paras Khadka and Mahaboob Alam shared a scalp each for Nepal. Sawad conceded 24 runs off his 3 overs. Basanta Regmi conceded conceded 34 runs off his 4 overs spell. Sanjam Regmi stood as the most expensive bowler as he conceded 23 runs off his 2 overs.
In reply, P.N.G bowlers put Nepal under pressure in every ball count as Nepal bundled up for just 102 runs in 20 overs.
Prithu Baskota top scored for Nepal with 36 runs off 36 balls remaining not out. Baskota hit a four and a six. Sharad Vesawkar scored 14 runs while Pradeep Airee put 13 runs on board.
Once again, Paresh Lohani failed to prove himself as he went out for just 3 runs leaving Nepal to 6 for 1 in third over. Airee and Vesawkar played a slow game but had control over wicket, but it could not continue as Airee went for a catch in fifth over. Vesawkar was the third to be out in eighth over. Paras Khadka went for a lbw for just 6 runs, which eventually led Nepal near to the loss.
Mahaboob Alam who was bowled for 2 runs put up the partnership of 18 runs with Prithu Baskota for sixth wicket. Baskota then shared a 19 runs seventh wicket partnership with Basanta Regmi. Due to a slow start and slow run rate, Nepal was already in a bitter position where chasing the target seemed unachievable.
For P.N.G man of the match Chris Amini took two wickets while Hitolo Areni, Mahuru Dai, Rarva Dikana, John Reva and Jason Kila grabbed a wicket each.
In other matches of the day, Afghanistan defeated Denmark by a big 89 runs, Canada defeated Hong Kong by 8 wickets and Netherlands defeated Bermuda by 4 runs in group A. While, in group B, Ireland defeated Italy by 2 wickets, Namibia defeated USA by 17 runs, Kenya defeated Oman by 35 runs and Scotland defeated Uganda by 34 runs.
Nepal earlier had won against Hong Kong by 28 runs and against Denmark by 9 wickets. This is the first win for P.N.G. after they lost to Afghanistan by 6 wickets and Canada by 6 runs.
Nepal will now play Afghanistan on Friday.