Nepal crush PNG to continue CWC League 2 surge

by   •  Last updated on
Sandeep Lamichhane now has 98 wickets in 33 matches
Sandeep Lamichhane now has 98 wickets in 33 matches © Getty

Nepal's late surge in CWC League 2 continued with a crushing win over Papua New Guinea in front of a packed house at Kirtipur, the home spinners ripping through the Papua batting to skittle the tourists for just 94, and taking just 46 balls to chase. Sandeep Lamichhane was the chief architect of the Papuan implosion, bagging his third ODI five-wicket haul to see Nepal bowl out their opposition for under a hundred for the second time in two days. Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh wasted no time in reply, the pair's half-century opening partnership coming in just 22 balls to set the hosts on track to complete a nine-wicket win with 254 balls to spare.

It was Lalit Rajbanshi that set off the collapse again after Nepal had invited their guests to bat, drawing an ungainly swipe across the line from Kiplin Doriga and taking his off stump in the fourth over. Sompal Kami then claimed the only seamers' wicket to fall three overs later as Hiri Hiri top-edged a short ball to Karan KC at deep third. Asad Vala looked to rebuild with Sese Bau, but when Lamichhane came into the attack in the 14th it was soon clear the Barramundis had no answer. Lamichanne took only six balls to claim his first, a perfect googly to Bau taking the left-handers off stump. Vala and Charles Amini survived until drinks, but Vala's patience seemed exhausted after the break, gifting Lamichhane his second with a miscued and misconceived sweep shot picking out Rajbanshi at deep backward square to fall for 20.

That proved the top score for his side as they lost their remaining six wickets for just 24 more runs. Riley Hekure chipped a simple return catch back to Rajbanshi in the 22nd over, and Amini went in the next for 18, his dismissal a carbon-copy of Vala's. No other PNG bat would pass double figures as the lower order rapidly subsided, Kushal Malla picking up a brace of wickets at the back end before Lamichhane returned to the attack, completing his fiver-fer and the innings with the last ball of his spell, clean bowling Semo Kamea to finish with 5-25 in ten overs. The return brings Lamichhane's personal tally to 98 ODI wickets in just 39 appearances, two away wickets from breaking Rashid Khan's record, the Afghan leg-spinner having taken 44 matches to reach the landmark.

With just 94 on the board PNG on a largely blameless wicket never looked in the game, but Bhurtel and Sheikh's opening blitz quickly underscored the totality of their defeat. Any hope of an improbable defense was gone by the second over, in which Bhurtel took the hapless Kabua Morea for 26 runs. Chad Soper struck the sole blow for PNG in the fourth, trapping Bhurtel LBW for a 14-ball 33, but by then Nepal were already half-way home. Kushal Malla joined Sheikh in the middle and the pair kept the crowd cheering, Sheikh racing to a personal fifty and finishing the chase in the process, back to back sixes off Soper in the eighth over wrapping up the win in time for lunch.

The victory leaves Nepal just one win away from completing an improbable late comeback to take third place in League 2, having now won ten of their last eleven matches to jump from sixth to fourth, just a single point behind third-placed Namibia. A demoralised UAE side will be all that stands between them a podium finish when the two sides meet for the competition's final match on Thursday, where a win would see Nepal claim direct qualification for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.



Move to top