Nepal clinches T20 series against Ireland Wolves

Opting to bat first after winning the toss, openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh made a feisty start adding 34 runs from the first three overs.


File photo of the Nepal cricket team. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CAN/ THE KATHMANDU POST

March 27, 2024

KATHMANDU – Nepal defeated Ireland Wolves by 71 runs in the second T20 and claimed the two-match series 2-0 at the TU Cricket Ground on Tuesday, thanks to their charismatic batting that is finally starting to click again.

A combined effort from their batting order helped the Rhinos rack up 198-7 from their 20 overs that saw seven batters contribute in double digits.

Nepal’s bowling was equally outstanding as Kushal Malla and Sompal Kami took three wickets each to restrict the tourists to 127 all out in 18.3 overs.

Opting to bat first after winning the toss, openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh made a feisty start adding 34 runs from the first three overs.

After Sheikh departed scoring 11 runs off nine balls—caught behind off Matthew Foster (3-42)—Nepal had a brief slump, losing the quick wickets of Bhurtel (25 runs off 16 balls) to Foster and Anil Sah (12 runs off 11 balls) to Finon Hand.

But captain Rohit Paudel and Gulsan Jha put on an eye-catching 71-run stand for the fourth wicket to rebuild the Nepal innings.

Jha smashed 46 runs off 32 balls before Ben White (2-40) had him caught by Wolves skipper Neil Rock in the 13.5 overs.

Paudel made 33 runs facing 24 deliveries and fell to Gavin Hoey in the 16th over.

Malla then stole the show in Kirtipur hammering 34 runs from 13 balls and Sundeep Jora played a quickfire 10 ball-21 to guide Nepal to a big total.

In reply, the Wolves made a bright start to their chase scoring 43 runs off the first 29 balls.

But they ran out of gas after Kami dispatched opener and wicketkeeper Stephen Doheny (26 off 13 balls) and Malla removed Ross Adir (17 off 19 balls) in the space of three balls.

The Nepali bowlers then turned the screw on the Irish batters, preventing them from forming a significant partnership as Cade Carmichael (18), Morgan Topping (21), skipper Rock (17) and Gareth Delany (15) all departed.

Kami then cleaned up the tail to give Nepal a comprehensive victory.

Malla took 3-15, while Kami returned the match figures of 3-17. Karan KC, Bhurtel and Bibek Yadav also picked a wicket each.

The victory is a welcome boost for Monty Desai’s side after a below-average performance against the Netherlands and Namibia in the home tri-series of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 and Tri-Nation T20I Series, followed by another below-par show in Hong Kong.

Nepal will now travel to India to participate in the SMS Friendship Cup involving state teams of Gujarat and Baroda at Vapi, Gujarat.

But their focus will be on the 2024 ACC Men’s T20 Premier Cup, which begins in April.

Nepal will then head for the United States and the West Indies to participate in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup—their only second appearance in the global showpiece and first since ICC World T20 in Bangladesh in 2014.

The Wolves will play three T20s and three ODs against Nepal A, from March 28 to April 7, before returning home.

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