Zimbabwe scored 380 for 6 in 50 overs.

The match ended right there for Nepal. It’s was the biggest total that any team had scored against Nepal, a team that always performed brilliantly with balls and poorly with the bat.

However, Nepal could have salvaged little pride from the loss batting 50 overs and scoring some runs. That was exactly the case – Nepal batted 50 overs; scored 264 runs and didn’t lose all wickets. Two of the batsmen scored half-centuries and players, young and experienced, had some good, morale boosting batting practice going into next matches of the World Cup Qualifiers 2018.

Nepal lost the match by 116 runs.

Punishing centuries by Sikandar Raza and Brendan Taylor helped the host nation. Raza belted 9 sixes and 7 fours in a 66-ball 123 and Taylor hit 7 fours and a six in a 91-ball 100 as the two batsmen put on 173 runs for the third wicket.

Both fell on successive deliveries of the penultimate over to fast bowler Sompal Kami, who finished with figures of 2/82 – the most expensive bowling by any Nepali bowlers in List A matches. Left-arm spinner Basant Regmi bagged two for 69 while Sandeep Lamichhane and Lalit Rajbanshi got one.

Zimbabwe got a blistering start with openers Solomon Mire and Cephas Zhuwao put on 77 runs in 7 overs after winning the toss. Nepal had chosen to play spinner Lalit Rajbanshi in expense of pacer Karan KC. Zhuwao slapped 3 fours and 4 sixes in a 23-ball 41, while Mire’s 41-ball 52 was laced with 5 fours and 3 sixes.

Captain Paras Khadka said: “They batted exceptionally well. Sikandar Raza’s innings was a difference. Bowling-wise we could have done better. They batted us out of the game.”

Aarif Sheikh on his way to 50. Photo: ICC

In reply, Nepal scored 264 for eight in 50 overs. Sharad Vesawkar got 52 while Aarif Sheikh scored 50. Paras tried to accelerate runs after Dilip Nath fell early but his 40 was not enough.

Gyanendra Malla got 32; Rohit Paudel 30 and Dipendra Singh Airee 23 but that was not taking Nepal anywhere near victory. Raza was the pick of the bowlers with 3/48 and picked up the deserving man of the match award.

“For us it was important to go as close to the score as possible, so we wanted to be positive while batting on a good batting surface,” Paras said.

Former captain Pawan Agrawal believes there are positives to take from the match.

Brief score: Zimbabwe 380/6 in 50 overs (Sikandar Raza 123, Brendan Taylor 100, Solomon Mire 52, Cephas Zhuwao 41, Craig Ervine 34; Basant Regmi 2/69, Sompal Kami 2/82) beat Nepal 264/8 in 50 overs (Sharad Vesawkar 52, Aarif Sheikh 50, Paras Khadka 40, Gyanendra Malla 32, Rohit Kumar 30, Dipendra Airee 23; Sikandar Raza 3/48, Brian Vitori 2/46) by 116 runs.