ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers: Nepal defeat USA, won match by six wickets

Harare [Zimbabwe], June 21 (ANI): Nepal won by six wickets against the USA in Tuesday’s ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier match.

As per ICC’s official website, the USA was rattled early in their innings by some exceptional Nepal bowling but managed to score 207 on the back of a brilliant hundred from Shayan Jahangir. During his stay at the crease, Jahangir added 100 out of 142 runs scored by USA batters.

Chasing a total of 208, the Nepal innings was rocked early on when opener Aasif Sheikh fell lbw to Saurabh Netravalkar at 12. But Nepal batters took advantage of some ordinary fielding from the USA to get their innings going. Kushal Bhurtel and Bhim Sharki added 49 runs for the second wicket before Bhurtel (39) fell to Nosthush Kenjige.

Skipper Rohit Paudel then joined Sharki in steadying the Nepal innings. Though the scoring rate dropped, the duo ensured that Nepal didn’t lose another wicket till the mid-inning mark.

Paudel’s fall to Nisarg Patel in the 27th over brought the youngster Kushal Malla to the crease. He couldn’t get going but brought some impetus with his run-a-ball 13, which included a six.

With Dipendra Airee’s arrival, Nepal put its foot on the pedal and took the game further away from the USA. Together they added 74 runs for the fifth wicket. Sharki finished at 77, while Airee made 39 in a successful chase.

Earlier, Nepal won the toss and elected to take the field at the Takashinga Sports Club. After defeats for both teams’ first-up, this encounter is vital for their hopes of a Super Six spot.

Nepal edges the historic match-up record 3-2 in ODI cricket having played the USA six times in League 2 cricket, with the other match a tie in Texas in June 2022.

Both sides were forced to make changes. USA skipper Monank Patel handed the captaincy to batter Aaron Jones after falling ill. On the Nepal side, Sompal Kami is expected to miss a week with an injury and was replaced by Lalit Rajbanshi.

Nepal seamer Karan KC ensured that he made up for Kami’s absence with an exceptional new-ball spell. In his first over, he packed off Steven Taylor (4) and Saiteja Mukkamalla (0) off consecutive deliveries. Karan didn’t let up his intensity after these breakthroughs and pushed the USA batting further into the doldrums.

In the eighth over, he had the stand-in USA captain Aaron Jones caught at gully and then in the 10th over, he had Nosthush Kenjige caught at first slip. By the 10th over mark, USA had four batters back in the hut for merely 19 runs.

Gajanand Singh, the centurion from USA’s opening encounter against West Indies, joined hands with Sushant Modani to stabilise the innings. Together the duo added 47 runs from 73 balls.

But when Gajanand was priming for another rescue act, the southpaw was caught brilliantly at first slip by Aarif Sheikh. At 25 overs, the USA were 80/5.

Modani (42) soon followed Gajanand back into the pavilion after missing out on a sweep against Rajbanshi in the 27th over. Having taken six wickets under the score of 100, Nepal hoped to clean up the remaining batters as soon as possible.

However, Shayan Jahangir came to the USA’s rescue with a good knock of 100* from 79 balls. He hit 10 fours and three sixes during his innings.

He also forged important lower-order stands with Nisarg Patel (34 for the seventh wicket), Jessy Singh (42 for the eighth wicket) and Netravalkar (37 for the ninth wicket).