Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Scotland spinners rout Nepal in final triseries fixture. [File photo] Left-arm spinner Hamza Tahir finished with figures of 4 for 26
[File photo] Left-arm spinner Hamza Tahir finished with figures of 4 for 26
Scotland's twin left-arm spinners Hamza Tahir and Mark Watt tore through a hapless Nepali batting card to bundle the visitors out for just 128, before Calum MacLeod struck a belligerent 64 off 29 in the Scots' reply as the hosts romped home with eight wickets and 31 overs to spare. This result further closes the gap with Oman at the top of the CWC League 2 table.
The hosts had Nepal on the back foot from ball one after winning the toss and electing to field. Of the tourists' top-order, only Aasif Sheikh ever looked comfortable as disciplined bowling and regular wickets kept the scoring pegged back throughout the innings.
Sheikh scored a patient 40 off 58 from the top of the order, but his partners found runs hard to come by. Safyaan Sharif and Mark Watt put early pressure, and Kushal Bhurtel top edged a sweep off the latter to deep square five overs in. Dev Khanal edged to slip off Gavin Main on the last ball of the 12th. Sheikh and Rohit Paudel took them past fifty before Sheikh fell to Watt, inside edging on a cramped cut in the 19th over. From then on, it was largely one-way traffic.
Paudel edged to slip soon after to gift Chris McBride his maiden ODI wicket, Nepal slipping to 71-4 after 20 overs, and 71-5 a ball later as Aarif Sheikh pushed a looping outside edge up for Macleod off Watt. Tahir then joined in the fun as Watt's fellow southpaw continued his work, rapidly ripping through the middle and lower order, with only skipper Sandeep Lamichhane offering some resistance from number eight. He battled to 22 off 27 to get his side to 128 before becoming Tahir's fourth victim in the 36th.
The target was never likely to trouble the hosts. Coetzer set the tone for the chase with two consecutive boundaries off Sompal Kami in the first over. Though Lamichhane had McBride pinned in front in the 8th over, that did little to slow the scoring. In fact it had the opposite effect as MacLeod came to the middle, the latter playing himself in and then getting stuck into Lamichhane, plundering 2 fours and 2 sixes off the last four balls of the 12th as Scotland rapidly closed in on the win at 80-1.
MacLeod fell before the end, caught off Sompal Kami after hitting a third six to go with his 10 fours, but by then the Scots were one hit away. Captain Richie Berrington delivered it, putting Lamichhane across the rope on the final ball of the 19th to bag a convincing win for his side and two crucial League 2 points.
The victory takes Scotland to within ten points of leaders Oman, who currently occupy the top spot on 44 points but have played all of their 36 matches. Scotland have ten more games to catch them, including another home series against the USA and the UAE next month. Nepal meanwhile are left in the potential relegation zone, lingering on 17 points from 20 matches above only Papua New Guinea. They do however have two home series in hand, which may prove crucial as they look to at least finish outside the bottom two, and thus likely secure ODI status for another cycle.