The result of the match was simple: Kenya beat Nepal by 5 wickets in D/L method. Despite the heart-breaking loss that virtually ended Nepal’s hopes of reaching the qualifying round for the Cricket World Cup, the match was memorable for the passion of 10,000+ spectators who braved rain and wet natural sitting for hours to ensure Nepal play with their cheers.
Kenya’s bowling unit, led by Shem Ngoche’s three-wicket haul, set up win for Kenya in a rain-hit ICC World Cricket League Championship match on Saturday. Overnight and early morning rain in TU Cricket Ground the start of play before the 50-over match was reduced to a 38-overs-a-side affair. Put in to bat, Nepal didn’t get the best of starts, losing five wickets with just 66 runs on the board. It was only some late hitting from Shakti Gauchan and Sompal Kami, who added 30 runs for the ninth wicket, that lifted the side to 112 for 8 before rain arrived again in the 36th over.
Stand-in captain Gyanendra Malla (27 in 35 balls), debutant Dipendra Singh Airee (19 in 36 balls), Shakti (18 not out in 24), Somapl (15 not out in 17) and Sagar Pun (10 in 23) were the only Nepal batsmen to reach double-figures. Ngoche, the left-arm spinner, returned 3 for 18 in his six overs, and was well supported by Nelson Odhiambo, who took 2 for 17 in six overs.
Paras Khadka missed the match as he is recuperation from an abdomen surgery conducted in mid-February after being diagnosed with appendicitis.
Kenya was set a revised target of 109 in 29 overs and Sagar Pun and Basant Regmi, the Nepal spinners, dismissed Kenya’s top three by the seventh over, with Pun striking off successive deliveries to dismiss Irfan Karim and Dhiren Gondaria. But Collins Obuya (24 in 32) and Rakep Patel (34 not out in 52) kept the chase going with a crucial 44-run fourth-wicket stand.
Kenya had reached 80 for 5 in 22.3 overs before rain interrupted again, and Kenya was set 94 to win from 26 overs upon resumption. Patel, the captain, and Gurdeep Singh then took Kenya over the line to 98 for 5 in 24.1 overs.
Captain Gyanendra commented: “If it had been a 50-over game, probably the complexion of the game would have been different. We need to step up our batting in the next game.”
Kenya coach Thomas Odoyo said: “In the morning, our boys bowled in the right areas and kept taking wickets. In the evening, it was difficult to bat on but our players are professionals and dealt it with calmness.”
This was Kenya’s fifth win (10 points) in nine matches in the tournament so far. It is now placed fifth in the eight-team table, while Nepal, with three wins (6 points) from nine games, is placed a rung below. Netherlands heads the list with 16 points from ten games, while Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Scotland placed above Kenya, and Namibia and USA propping up the table.
Brief score: Nepal 112/8 in 36 overs (G Malla 27, D Airee 19; S Ngoche 3-18, N Odhiambo 2-17) lost to Kenya 98-5 in 24.1 overs (R Patel 34*, C Obuya 24; S Pun 2-8, S Lamichhane 2-21) by five wickets under D/L method