Nepal survived the early batting collapse for a five-wicket win over Kuwait to keep alive the hopes of reaching the semifinal of the World Cup Qualifying Series Division II at the Royal Selangor Club of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today.
Nepal bowled brilliantly after being invited to field first and ended Kuwaiti innings for 95 runs in 31 overs with Dhirendra Chand snarling five wickets. While replying, Nepal saw an early batting collapse as top order batsmen failed and score read 39/5 at the end of 11 overs. However, Shakti Gauchan and captain Binod Das partnered a crucial 57-run and safely took the team to victory.
With the win, Nepal kept alive the hopes of reaching the semifinal and the hopes of playing ICC Trophy 2005, the World Cup 2007 qualifier, by winning the tournament. At the end of Day 2, Papua New Guinea, who defeated Nepal on Monday, leads the Group B with two wins while Nepal and Kuwait each have a win. Nepal face Italy in the last league match on Thursday while Kuwait face PNG.
On Tuesday, after losing toss, Binod Das made Kuwait regret the decision claiming the wicket of opener Khalid Butt in the second over. Butt nicked Binod to wicket-keeper Manoj Vaishya. Mehboob Alam, although went wicket-less, bowled economically with Binod.
Dhirendra, the last-minute replacement for injured Manjeet Shrestha, continued to impress with five wickets. He took wickets of three top-order batsmen to reduce Kuwait to 38/4. Before Binod took two more Ã¢â‚¬â€œ of opener captain Gayoor Ahmad, who topscored with 21, and Hisham Mirza. Dhirendra then took two more to end the innings in 95. Paras Khadka too took one.
In reply, Mehboob just faced three balls before losing his wicket. Nepal then lose Paresh Lohani and Paras Khadka to make it 24/3 and two more, Dipendra Chaudhary and Kaniska Chaugai to make it 39/5.
Kuwait were sensing victory at the time but Shakti and Binod batted patiently without letting other wicket fall. Each of them remained unbeaten on 27 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Shakti playing 119 balls for his boundary-less innings while Binod his five fours in his 90-ball knock. Kuwait tried eight bowlers in an attempt to get them out but failed.
On Thursday, if Nepal defeat Italy and PNG defeat Kuwait it will be Nepal and PNG who will advance to semifinal from the group. But if Kuwait defeat PNG and Nepal defeat Italy, the run-rate will be vital (PNG +1.4, Kuwait +0.9, Nepal -1.4).