Nepal beat Namibia by 3 runs

Gulsan Jha in action for Nepal. Photo: Nepal Cricket

The Namibian Richelieu Eagles dropped to the bottom of the T20 Tri-Nations series in Nepal, after losing to the home side by three runs on Friday.

After being sent in to bat, Nepal scored a competitive 180/8 off their 20 overs and then restricted Namibia to 177/7 as they held on for their first victory in the tournament. 

That saw them joining Namibia on two points, although Nepal have a better run aggregate, while The Netherlands lead the log on four points from two wins.

Namibian pace bowler Ben Shikongo got an early breakthrough in Nepal’s innings, bowling Aasif Sheikh for 1, but the rest of their top order reached double figures as they stepped up the run rate. 

Rohit Paudel scored 10 and Anil Sah 23, and when Gulsan Jha was trapped lbw by Bernard Scholtz for 26, they had raced to 64/4 at nearly nine runs to the over. 

Kushal Malla joined Aarif Sheikh and put Nepal in charge with an 85-run partnership, which came off only 55 balls. 

Jack Brassel got the breakthrough, dismissing Sheikh for 31 off 24 balls (4×4), but Malla continued the onslaught, reaching 55 not out off 37 balls (1×4, 4×6) as Nepal reached 180/8, at nine runs to the over. 

Shikongo was Namibia’s best bowler, taking 3/28, while Brassell took 2/45. 

In Namibia’s reply, Malan Kruger (3) and Michael van Lingen (10) went cheaply, and when JP Kotze was dismissed for 25 off 22 balls (4×4) they had three wickets down with 50 on the board. 

JJ Smit joined Jan Frylinck and revived Namibia’s innings with a fine partnership as they put on 83 runs off 47 balls to take the score to 133/3. 

With five overs remaining, Namibia were well-placed to reach the target, but Nepal struck back with three wickets in two overs to gain the upper hand. 

Dipendra Airee dismissed JJ Smit for a rapid 50 off 26 balls (6×4, 2×6) and Nicol Loftie-Eaton for a golden duck, and when Abinash Bohara bowled Frylinck for 37 (29 balls, 1×4, 2×6) Namibia had crashed to 135/6. 

Ruben Trumpelmann (14 off 12 balls) and Zane Green (23 not out off 13 balls), gave Namibia hope at the end, but it was not enough as Nepal held on for a narrow victory. 

For Nepal, KC Karan, Sompal Kami and Dipendra Airee each got two wickets.

In the final two group matches Nepal take on The Netherlands on Saturday, while Namibia face the Netherlands on Sunday.

The top two teams will contest the final on Tuesday, 5 March. 

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