Shakti Gauchan and Basant Regmi, the left-arm spinners, took six wickets between them as Nepal began its ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 campaign with a six-wicket win over the United States of America on Friday (July 10).
Gauchan (3 for 16) and Regmi (3 for 24) helped Nepal keep USA down to 121 all out in 20 overs at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast. In reply, USA’s bowlers fought hard and took it to the end. But Gyanendra Malla’s 52 off 43 balls made the difference as Nepal reached 122 for 4 in 19.4 overs.
Fahad Babar and Akeem Dodson, the USA openers, made good contributions to give their side a solid start. Babar was the dominant partner in an opening stand worth 27 in three overs, in which he contributed 23 off 15 balls. But Sagar Pun, the off-spinner, had Babar caught to end the association.
Dodson then took over and did the bulk of the scoring in a second-wicket stand of 24 with Shiva Vashishat. Vashishat fell in the seventh over with the score on 51 when Sompal Kami (2 for 22), the right-arm pacer, trapped him leg before.
Thereafter, no one from the middle order could make a big contribution. Regmi sent back Mrunal Patel and Timil Patel in consecutive overs. Dodson was the only set batsman and USA needed him to carry on. But Gauchan had him caught to leave the score reading 84 for 5 at the start of the 13th over. Dodson top-scored with 39 off 33 balls.
Karan Ganesh (15) and Adil Bhatti (14) added 21 for the seventh wicket before USA lost its last four wickets in a cluster, for the addition of just 14 runs.
Nepal lost Pun early in the chase to Jasdeep Singh, the right-arm medium bowler, who cleaned up the batsman.
Anil Mandal and Malla then steered the side to safer waters with a 78-run stand for the second wicket. Mandal had made 29 when Karan, the off-spinner, struck in the 15th over.
Nepal was still ahead, needing 38 off 34 balls and eight wickets in hand, but USA’s bowlers fought back with two more strikes. First, Malla was trapped in front by Jasdeep. Hammad Shahid, the right-arm pacer, then had Binod Bhandari caught behind. But Paras Khadka, the captain, who had walked in at No. 4 held firm with an unbeaten 21 and saw his team through.
Jasdeep was the best bowler for USA, his four overs fetching 2 for 23.
Nepal will next take on Namibia in Belfast on Saturday, while USA faces an in-form Ireland on Sunday, also in Belfast.