This is Nepal's 1st defeat at home    Lochan Acharya    (Twitter)
This is Nepal’s 1st defeat at home Lochan Acharya (Twitter)

Kenya beat Nepal by 5 wickets (D/L method) in a rain-affected match at Tribhuvan University (TU) International Cricket Ground, Kirtipur in the 35th match of ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship 2015-16-17 match. Chasing 94, Kenyan batsmen, especially skipper Rakep Patel, batted sensibly. Rakep played a typical captain’s knock and finished the match in style with a six. After the interruption of rain in the first innings, Kenya were given the target of 104 in 29 overs but after 21.2 overs of Kenya’s batting, rain interrupted again and the target was reduced to 94 from 26 overs. Kenya were 80 for the loss of 5 wickets when the rain interrupted the match in the second innings.

Initially, Nepal bowlers looked ruthless with the ball as they had put Kenya s three wickets down for just 21 runs. Sagar Pun and Basant Regmi did the job of putting Nepal back in the game. Further, experienced batsmen Colins Obuya and Rakep batted impressively by dealing only in singles and doubles instead of boundaries. The Nepal bowlers were getting good amount of turn but their bowlers were only turning the ball instead of brining variations, which led to Kenya build crucial partnership for 4th wicket. Pacer Sompal Kami was also focusing on bowling short deliveries instead of good-length or full, which Kenyan pacers did and despite not having quality spinners, they did well against Nepal batters.

Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane broke the partnership by scalping Obuya’s wicket with a straighter one but till that time, Kenya were back in game. Soon, one more wicket fell in the form of Karan Kaul and once again it was Lamichhane who took the wicket. Before Rakep and Gurdeep Singh could think of building partnership, the rain interrupted again and after the game resumed, Kenya easily chased the target. This was Kenya’s 5th win in the tournament and Nepal’s first defeat at home and 6th overall.

Earlier in the first innings, the match started late due to rain and it was decided that the contest will be reduced to 38 overs per side. After the toss, Nepal were put into bat first by Kenya andhad a decent but slow start. Gyanendra Malla led the side in the absence of Paras Khadka. Malla and Sunil Dhamala added only 21 runs for the first wicket and that was the only 20 or more runs partnership till the 9th wicket stand came into action.

After the fall of the first wicket in the form of Dhamala, the scoring rate kept going down and wickets kept falling from the other end at regular intervals. Malla showed promise but was dismissed for 27 from 35 balls. The highly-rated Sagar Pun failed as he got out for 10. Debutant Dipendra Airee showed immense application by sticking at the crease from the other but he too could not hold the fort for long. Airee was dismissed for 19 after playing 56 deliveries.

In the span of 30 runs, Nepal were reduced to 82 for 8 from being 55 for 3. But thanks to Shakti Gauchan and Sompal Kami, who batter way better than Nepal’s top order, Nepal went past the 100-run mark. The duo somehow brought Nepal back in game by adding unbeaten 30 runs for 9th wicket stand. Nepal were 112 for 8 at the end of 36 overs, when the rain came again and the play was interrupted.

Looking at Kenya s bowling attack, it was an all-round performance by them. Nehemiah Odhiambo was the only bowler to go at 4 runs per over while other bowlers’ economy rate was under 3. Total of six bowlers bowled from Kenyan side and none bowled less than 5 overs. Except Dhiren Gondaria, all five bowlers scalped at least a wicket. The pick of the bowlers from Kenya was spinner Shem Ngoche, who scalped three wickets from his spell of 6 overs with one maiden. Ngoche was the man behind Nepal’s collapse as he picked the key wicket of Airee, Binod Bhandari and Regmi.

Nelson Odhiambo got two, while Nehemiah, Elijah Otieno and skipper Rakep got one wicket each. The second match between these two sides will be played at the same venue on March 13, Monday.

Brief scores:

Kenya 98 for 5 in 24.1 overs (Rakep Patel 34*, Colins Obuya 24; Sagar Pun 2 for 8, Sandip Lamichhane 2 for 21) beat Nepal 112 for 8 in 36 overs (Gyanendra Malla 27, Dipendra Airee 19; Shem Ngoche 3 for 18, Nelson Odhiambo 2 for 17) by 5 wickets D/L method.