KATHMANDU: Papua New Guinea defeated Nepal by two wickets in their ICC World Cricket League Championship played at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi of United Arab Emirates on Monday.
Nepal had won the toss and elected to bat first and selected two debutants Mehabub Alam and Irshad Ahmed in the starting XI.
Nepal lost opener Anil Mandal for the first ball golden duck in which he was adjusted leg before to Norman Vanua in swinging delivery. Sagar Pun too did not last long in the crease and was back to the pavilion and gave his wicket away to Chad Soper for leg before. He managed to score only 10 runs from 23 balls with two fours.
In the middle overs, Nepal lost their most reliable batsmen Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka cheaply. Both the batsmen were back to the pavilion, only 86 runs were scored for the loss of four wickets in 22.3 overs till then.
However, opener Subash Khakurel’s mature inning of 63 runs from 102 balls with only two fours managed to build a partnership with Sharad Vaswakar for 50 odd runs.
Vesawkar carried his bat till the last over before falling for 78 runs off 85 balls with 5 fours. Basant Regmi played his part for his unbeaten 24 runs from 23 balls helping Nepal to post a defendable total of 232 runs in 50 overs.
Assad Vala took three Nepali wickets in his bowling spell of 7-0-32-3 and rest of the bowlers chipped in with a wicket each.
In reply, the PNG lost their first wicket in the form of Tony Ura for 35 runs on the board, to Nepali skipper Khadka. Ura had provided a flying start to the PNG with his knock of 30 runs from just 26 balls with a flurry of boundaries including 5 fours and a six.
However, all the middle order PNG batsmen got starts, but could not convert into big knocks.
Vala’s inning of 87 runs from 107 balls provided the base for the PNG chase of Nepal’s total before he fell to Shakti Gauchan in the penultimate over. He shared a 65-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Amini knock and it was proved to be decisive.
Amini was bowled by Sompal Kami before Amini had managed to score 35 valuable runs from 42 balls with 4 fours.
The match was delicately poised for the dying over when the PNG top scorer Vala fell for just 9 runs short of victory.
Nepali bowler Basanta Regmi was given the task of defending six runs from six balls of the 50th over.
However, his first two balls went for four runs and his next ball went for four and PNG won the game with two wickets with three balls to spare.
Shakti Gauchan was again pick of the Nepali bowlers where he was again able to exert pressure on the PNG batsmen and took the most important wicket of Assad Vala in the penultimate over. His figure read 7-1-19-1.
Khadka and Alam took two wickets each and Kami and Regmi were touch expensive.
Nepal and PNG will play again on Wednesday.