Nepal’s winning start in Kenya

The visit to Nepal got off to a victorious start in the first of five matches of the International Twenty20 Series by beating hosts Kenya by five wickets at the Gymkhana Club Ground in Nairobi, Kenya.

Asked to beat first, the home side went 130-8 before Nepal scored 133 with four balls to spare after Aarif Sheikh hit two successive boundaries in the first two deliveries of the final over.

Chasing the target, Nepal made a shaky start to the set as they lost flyhalf Pawan Sarraf for a single run in the second set. Mid-order hitter Dipendra Singh Airee contributed an innings-high 33 runs as other hitters also made moderate contributions. Airee hit two fences and a six in his 24-ball drive before being caught by Irfan Karim off Lucas Oluoch in the 19th.

Other fly-half Aasif Sheikh contributed 19 runs and shared a 45-run stand for the second wicket with former captain Gyanendra Malla, who had scored a return to the national team after almost a year and a half. Sheikh was knocked down by Nehemiah Odhiambo in the first ball of the ninth.

Malla contributed 23 runs out of 30 deliveries which included three fences. Vraj Patel had him caught by Rakep Patel in the 12th. Rohit Paudel contributed 13 points on 14 balls before being thrown by Vraj Patel.

Aarif Sheikh went undefeated in his 15-ball 24 which included three fences and a six. Aadil Ansari was not released on two points.

Kenyan bowlers Lucas Oluoch and Vraj Patel each bagged two wickets while Nehemiah Odhiambo picked one. Oluoch gave up 20 points in his four-man while Patel allowed 19 points in his four-man bowling.

Batting first, the home side’s wicketkeeper Irfar Karim contributed 34 runs, the highest of innings for Kenya who have lost wickets at regular intervals. Coming up to bat at number three, Karim hit three fences in his 44-ball drive before being caught and knocked down by captain Sandeep Lamichhane.

Lower middle-order hitter Lucas Oluoch went an undefeated 31-point blitz on 13 deliveries. He hit five fences and a six in his 13-ball shot to lift the total.

Nelson Odhiambo contributed 19 of 21 before being caught by Sompal Kami off Dipendra Singh Airee. Sachin Bhudai scored 17 points against 15 balls. He was caught by Lamichhane during Kami’s delivery.

Player of the match Kami also knocked out fly-half Alex Obanda for six points in the second round. His opening pair Collins Obuya was dismissed in the sixth for 12 runs as Aadil Ansari had him caught by Gyanendra Malla. Rakep Patel was trapped in the leg by Lamichhane for nine runs while lower-order hitters Shem Ngoche, also captain, and Nehemiah Odhiambo were both out for a duck.

Kami was the wicket pick claiming three wickets in his four spells. He conceded 22 points. Captain Lamichhane picked two wickets in his four-man bowling conceding 33 runs while Ansari and Dipendra Singh Airee shared one wicket each.

The second game of the series will be played on Friday.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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