HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal’s hope of making it to the second round of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier was dealt a hammer blow when they lost to the Netherlands by six wickets at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai today.
Nepal went down against disciplined Netherlands bowling attack to settle for their tournament-low score of 85-7 in 20 overs. The Dutch in reply cruised to victory for the loss of four wickets in 13.5 overs. Just a win against Canada on Tuesday will not be enough for Nepal to enter the second round. Nepal need to register a huge victory to bolster their better net run rate.
Afghanistan (12 points) and the Netherlands (10) have marched into the second round from Group ‘A’, while Canada (eight) and Nepal (six) have just slim chances for the final spot. Papua New Guinea (four) suffered a shock defeat at the hands of bottom side Bermuda today to crash out from the first round.
Nepal skipper Paras Khadka had asked his players to raise their game against the Dutch after winning Sunday’s match against Bermuda but nothing went as planned. Nepali batsmen not only struggled to make runs but also kept losing wickets in quick succession that left bowlers with hardly any room to defend the lowly total.
The Netherlands bowling, led by Mudassar Bukhari, reduced Nepal to 25-5 in 11 overs from where the team never recovered. Only Gyanendra Malla and Basanta Regmi led a mild resistance with a 36-run stand for the seventh wicket. Opener Anil Mandal (11) got an outside edge for a four in the first over and after that Nepal had to wait until the 18th over to get their second boundary.
Gyanendra hit Peter Borren for a four in the second ball of the 18th over before Basanta also struck a boundary in the same over that fetched Nepal 12 runs. Nepal collected 17 runs in the 19th over — bowled by Ahsan Malik — with Basanta hitting two boundaries and Gyanendra one. Gyanendra top scored for Nepal with 32 runs from 49 deliveries and was the last man out. Basanta remained unbeaten on 20 from 17 balls.
Pradeep Airee, Sharad Vesawkar, Paras and Mehboob Alam were dismissed for one run each, while Prithu Baskota (eight) was involved in the second best partnership for Nepal adding 20 runs for the sixth wicket with Gyanendra. Michael Swart picked up two wickets for the Netherlands, while Bukhari, Borren and Tom Cooper had one scalp each.
The Dutch side lost four wickets but had little difficulty in reaching the target. Cooper made an unbeaten 15-ball 18, while Swart (16), Stephan Myburgh and Alexei Kervezee chipped in 15 runs each. Basanta was pick of the Nepali bowlers with three wickets but in the process conceded 32 runs from four overs. Shakti Gauchan bowled opener Myburgh.