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Nepal in T20 World Cup 24, so close yet so far: lose a thriller to South Africa by 1 run



Nepali cricket team in West Indies.

Kathmandu, June 15: Nepal came agonizingly close to creating history, defeating a full member state of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the first time. But it was not to be. With only 2 runs needed of the last 2 balls, Nepali batsmen failed to put bat on ball, bringing disappointment to their dire hard fans watching the game in person and live from Nepal and across the globe.

With this, Nepal’s hope of progressing further in the ICC T20 World Cup underway in the USA and the West Indies also comes to an end, with one last game against Bangladesh yet to be played.

With job brilliantly done by the bowlers in the first innings, restricting the mighty South Africans to a meagre 115 runs, the team was let down by the batsmen who failed to score less than run a ball in the shortest format of the game.

Nepal dominated the first innings over test-playing-nation South Africa. This was the first time the two teams were ever playing. After winning the toss, Captain Rohit Paudel invited South Africa to bat first. Proving their captain’s decision right, the Nepali bowlers restricted South Africa to 115 runs for 7 wickets in 20 overs.

In restricting the opponents to a partly total, Kushal Bhurtel took 4 wickets giving away just 19 runs in his quota of 4 overs. Likewise, Dipendra Singh Airee took 3 wickets, giving away 21 runs. Joining the team for the first time in the world cup, Sandeep Lamichhane failed to take a wicket but gave only 18 runs in 4 overs.

For South Africa, only opener Reeza Hendricks was able to score some runs, scoring 43 runs in 49 balls, before being brilliantly caught and bowled by Diprendra Singh Airee. Tristan Stubbs scored 27 runs in 18 balls while other batsmen failed to make any significant impact.
Nepal’s chase got to a good start with both the openers seeing through the power play, without giving away their wicket and scoring 32 runs in 6 overs. However, with the introduction of spin, Nepal lost ground and lost two wickets while scoring 16 runs in the next four overs. Nepal were 48/2 at the half hour mark i.e. 10 overs.

Nepal lost opener Kushal Bhurtel who scored 13 runs in 21 balls, including a four and a six. Captain Rohit Paudel was out duck facing 2 balls. Both fell at the same over, bowled by Tabraiz Shamsim, whose 4 overs costing Nepal 4 wickets proved the difference. After applying the brakes in the 7th over with 2 wickets, Shamsim came back to haunt Nepal by taking another 2 wickets in a single over in the 17th over. Dipendra Singh Airee 6 (11) was caught behind while the set batsman Aasif Sheikh 42 (49) was clean bowled by Shamshim, who was later adjudged the player-of-the-match.

With 12 runs needed in the last two overs, the experienced Kushal Malla fell to Anrich Nortje scoring only 1 run in 3 overs. It was now left to new batsman Gulshan Jha and Sompal Kami, only player to have played the previous T20 World Cup when Nepal had last qualified in 2014.

Sompal Kami scored a huge six in the 18th over, bringing down the equation to 8 runs in the last six balls. New batsman Jha was on the crease to face the final over bowled by Ottneil Baartman. The first two balls he failed to put bat on ball, but scored the third ball for a four. He then scored two runs in the fourth ball, leaving only two runs to get from the last two balls. However, he failed to put bat on ball and was run out trying to steal a run to take the match to super over.

It was in similar circumstances that Nepal was out of the previous T20 World Cup it qualified in 2014. Nepal defeated fellow associates Hong Kong and Afghanistan but suffered a loss to the host, Bangladesh. Despite the two wins, Nepal couldn’t advance to the next round due to a lower net run rate. Hence, Nepal has been proved second time unlucky, going out after putting up a good display against a test side.

It was a must win match for Nepal today to have any chance of making it to the last eight. South Africa had already qualified for the Super Eight from Group D, also including the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Prior to this match, Nepal had collected just one point after one loss and a draw. Nepal was defeated by the Netherlands in the first match by 6 wickets while the second match against Sri Lanka was washed out. Nepal will now only play for pride against Bangladesh on Monday. This will be their last chance to give something for their adherent fans to cheer, and not return home without a single win.

Nepal’s playing 11 today consisted of Kushal Bhurtel, Aashif Sekh, Anil Sah, Rohit Paudel (captain), Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Sompal Kami, Gulshan Jha, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane and Abhinash Bohra. (Manoj Karki/RSS) #nepal #cricket


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