Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Karan and Lamichhane star as Nepal ambush Oman. Sandeep Lamichhane starred with figures of 8.1-2-18-4.
Sandeep Lamichhane starred with figures of 8.1-2-18-4.
Nepal bounced back from consecutive defeats in the CWC League 2 to score an upset victory over hosts and table-toppers Oman at Al Amerat, rolling the home side for just 121 inside 38 overs.
Karan KC and Sandeep Lamichhane starred with the ball, taking four wickets apiece, while the veteran Sharad Vesawkar also had success on his return to the side, bagging two middle-order wickets to forestall an Omani recovery. Home captain Zeeshan Maqsood struggled in vain to hold the innings together with a defiant 41, but Karan would return to find his outside edge as he looked for the late acceleration that never came for the hosts. Though Kaleemullah struck early in the Nepal chase to remove Kushal Bhurtel, the visitors never looked troubled as Aasif Sheikh and Gyanendra Malla took Nepal to the brink of victory before Sheikh holed out off Nestor Dhamba with Nelson on the board, and Rohit Paudel also perished before the end, but the experienced pair of Malla and Vesawkar saw Nepal home inside of 19 overs.
With Aqib Ilyas and Khawar Ali still sidelined through injury, Jatinder Singh, whose breakneck century set up a convincing win for the hosts when the two sides met last week, found himself opening with ODI debutant Sufyan Mehmood after Malla invited Oman to bat. Singh was watchful for the first over at least as Karan KC found early swing, but went after Kami in the second over. Singh's gung-ho approach costed him in the next over, looking to scoop Karan over fine leg only to skew an easy catch to Aarif Sheikh at slip.
Singh's dismissal saw the runs dry up; No.3 Ayaan Khan and Mehmood added just 12 runs before Karan struck again in the seventh over, extracting a little extra bounce on a straight shorter ball. It was sufficient to take Mehmood's top edge on an ungainly short-arm pull to bring Mohammad Nadeem to the middle. Nadeem and Ayaan both had some luck early; the former was fortunate to survive a strong LBW shout from Kami, and the latter was spilled behind the stumps off KC. Ayaan didn't ride his luck far though, chopping on two balls later to the evident relief of keeper Binod Bhandari. Maqsood nearly replicated the shot off his first ball, inside-edging into his body only for the ball to roll past the stumps.
Nepal initially looked to press the advantage, keeping the field up even after the powerplay as Karan continued to work over Maqsood and Nadeem. He drew another inside edge across the stumps from Maqsood in the 11th over. Sandeep Lamichhane's introduction at the other end brought rapid rewards, with Nadeem first edging a nigh-unplayable legbreak just short of slip before failing to pick a googly that struck him high on the back pad.
Oman was in trouble at 37 for 4, and slipped further as Suraj Kumar was undone by Lamichhane's wrong-un, bowled through the gate for a duck on just his second ball. Nestor Dhamba became Lamichhane's third victim when he was pinned in front by another googly first ball just before drinks. Sandeep Goud managed to get outside the line to survive the hat-trick ball, but at 43-6 Oman were in desperate straits.
Somewhat oddly, Nepal skipper Gyanendra Malla rather took the boot off after the drinks break, with the field spreading and medium-pacer Aarif Sheikh replacing Karan. For a while it seemed as though Maqsood and Goud might settle, but the former finally edged Sushan Bhari through slip in the 20th over the position had been vacated.
Lamichhane and Bhari kept things tight at both ends. That pressure would eventually tell, and Malla's decision to keep men on the rope was vindicated in part when Goud went after part-timer Sharad Vesawkar's second ball but could only miscue out Bhari on the fence at long off. Oman were again allowed to rebuild as Maqsood pressed doggedly on with Naseem Khushi, but Vesawkar profited again when some adventure crept back into the Oman innings. Khushi hit his first six off Bhari in the 29th over but holed out six balls later to leave Maqsood alone with the tail on 86-8.
No.9 Kaleemullah was lucky to survive an over of Lamichhane, but Malla finally decided to go for the kill, bringing back Karan in the 35th over as Maqsood began to hit out. Karan looked immediately threatening, again drawing an inside edge from Maqsood first ball. With the Oman captain looking to counterattack Karan shrugged off a straight driven four on the second ball to nick him off with the third. Last pair Kaleemullah and Bilal Khan were left with more than 15 overs to bat, but the latter showed no interest in batting them out, almost taking Karan's head off with a booming straight drive. Lamichhane finished things off on the first ball of the 38th, lofting a looping googly up high above Khan's eyeline, dropping on a length and spinning sharply on through the defences into the stumps.
Defending just 121 Oman looked to their new ball pairing of Kaleemullah and Bilal Khan to put Nepal on the back foot, and Kaleemullah found the early breakthrough the hosts needed. Bhurtel looked to force a drive off the back foot but edged high wide of the keeper, but Jatinder Singh at first slip took the ball well above his head. Khan had less luck at the other end though, losing his line as he went looking for wickets, and Maqsood turned to spin early, bringing himself on in the seventh over.
Malla and Sheikh pressed on undaunted, and concentration began to fade in the field along with the hosts' hopes. Maqsood likewise struggled to find his rhythm, and by the end of the powerplay, Nepal were already well over halfway to the target on 69 for 1. Malla saw his side comfortably home, striking an unbeaten 52 off 46 balls as the hosts wilted in the heat. Sheikh fell late in the chase, holing out off Dhamba for 40 with the end in sight, and Rohit Paudel spoiled his fine record in the series before the end, looking to finish things off in a hurry and losing his leg stump missing a straight one from Dhamba. Vesawkar finished things off with his sole scoring shot of the day, guiding Mehmood calmly down to third man for a single to get Nepal over the line with seven wickets and 188 balls to spare.
The comprehensive win sees Nepal overtake the UAE and Namibia to move to fourth place on the League 2 table, though both still have a game in hand over Nepal. With Scotland just one point ahead of Nepal on 9 from 8 matches and the USA on a worse win/loss ratio despite boasting 14 points in second place, there is little to separate the five teams in the middle of the table. Oman still lead the pack on 20 points from 13 matches, but will have little time to regroup before taking on the United States in the final match of the tri-series tomorrow.