Kathmandu- Nepal are inches close to the ICC Intercontinental Cup after an inspired performance from Skipper Paras Khadka and the bowlers, saw Nepal thrash host Namibia by three wickets in the fourth match of ICC World Cricket League Division 2, 2015 in Windhoek, Namibia.
For the first time in the series, Khadka won the toss and chose to field and that proved worthy against mighty Namibians. Namibia who had scored tons of runs against previous three opponents had shaky start in front of Nepali pace attack.
Karan KC started from where he left in the previous match taking the wicket of Stephen Baard, who scored 9 runs in the last ball of 4th over. Sompal complemented Karan with the wicket of danger man Geriee Synman six balls later leaving Namibia 12/2 in 5 overs.
Another six balls were bowled and new batsman in, Craig Williams was back to the pavilion. Karan had Williams caught behind by Subash Khakurel for one run to his name. Namibia cautously build their their innings with a partnership of 20 runs for the fourth wicket. Seeing this, Skipper brought Basanta into the attack and he provided breakthrough for Nepal in his very first over- and that was of man in form Gerhard Erasmus.
Raymond Van Schoor and Sarel Burger added 32 runs for the firth wicket, their highest partnership of the match before Burger got run out. After that wicket kept trumbling and Nepal eventually restricted Namibia for 142 runs.
Nepal’s newly appointed opener Sagar Pun couldn’t provide Nepal a good opening. He fell in the second over with a personal score of seven to Scholtz. 21 more runs and Nepal were in trouble. Subash Khaurel’s troublesome stay at the crease was over when he gifted a catch to Klazinga off Synman. Skipper Khadka again shouldered the responsibility of taking the innings forward along with Gyanendra Malla. The duo shared an important 58 runs partnership for the third wicket before Synman got the better of Malla. Malla scored 31 runs off 71 balls during his stay.
Khadka shared another 41 runs partnership with Binod Bhandari in the process completing his 2nd consecutive half century,and his seventh overall in ICC WCL tournaments. Synman got his third victim; Khadka got out trying to hit runs quickly. His innings of 66 off 56 balls consisted of 6 fours and 3 sixes. Once, Khadka was out, Nepal nearly saw another batting collapse. Sharad Veswakar 7, Aarif Shekih 1, and Binod Bhandari 18 fell in quick succession leaving Nepal 139/7, needing just four runs to win. Sompal Kami and Basanta Regmi guided Nepal home in 37.5 overs without further delay.
Nepal are now just one step away from ICC Intercontinental Cup. A win against Kenya will see them there. And a loss, if its a close loss, shall also get them to ICC Intercontinental Cup, should Netherlands loose their last match or win by a lesser margin.