Basant Regmi (C) was the star for Nepal © AFP
Basant Regmi (C) was the star for Nepal © AFP

In match 2 of ICC World Cricket League Division II encounter, Namibia and Nepal played out a low-scoring thriller. Sent into bat, Namibia could only manage 138 due to Sandeep Lamichhane‘s 4 for 18. Nonetheless, what was expected to be an easy chase turned out to be a tricky one. Namibia’s left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz produced an near-match-winning spell before falling short of Basant Regmi’s efforts.

In pursuit of 139, openers Gyanendra Malla and Dilip Nath perished cheaply. While Nath fell for a golden duck, Malla showed resistance amidst tight bowling. Malla finally departed for a 45-ball 15, showing his struggles. Nepal skipper and star player Paras Khadka was expected to bring down the difference with his calculative approach. However, he failed to impress and was dismissed for 19 (striking at 54). The slow nature of the pitch tested every batsmen, and the bowlers — for a change — made merry.

Scholtz curtailed the run-flow. He removed Aarif Sheikh for nought. Craig Williams, after a top score with 41, led to Khadka’s dismissal, and changed the complexion of the match. Nepal needed small partnerships or one big stand. They got one when Rohit Kumar Paudel and Sharad Vesawkar stitched a 37-run stand but Scholtz continue to inject breakthroughs.

At 111 for 8, there was a long halt due to the weather gods. On resumption, Namibia’s efforts were overpowered by tail-ender, Regmi. He stuck around with a run-a-ball knock as Lamichhane survived at his end to initiate a last-over turnaround.

Earlier, Namibia were given the taste of their own medicine courtesy Lamichhane’s bowling. Pacer Sompal Kami struck early before Lamichhane ran through the lower order. Only Williams and Zane Green contributed and Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit’s cameos propelled the score beyond three figures. Nonetheless, it all boiled down to Regmi’s 24 not out that sealed Nepal’s opening match.

Brief scores:

Namibia 138 in 34.2 overs (Craig Williams 41; Sompal Kami 3 for 35, Sandeep Lamichhane 4 for 18) lost to Nepal 139 for 9 in 49.2 overs (Sharad Vesawkar 29; Craig Williams 3 for 32, Bernard Scholtz 4 for 11) by 1 wicket with 4 balls to spare.

Man of the Match: Sandeep Lamichhane.