Nepal edge Namibia by three runs in a close finish
Posted by Prabin the सोभित on बिहिवार, फ्रेवुअरी 21, 2008
|our hero for this match Mahesh chhetri|
Nepal edged Namibia by three runs in an exciting finish with six balls to spare in the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup Group C encounter between two minnows at the University Science of Malaysia ground in Penang on Thursday.
Both Nepal and Namibia made one change to their side. Nepal, coached by Roy Dias, reinstated Pushpa Thapa in place of Antim Thapa while Namibia introduced Claude Bouwer for the first time in the World Cup, replacing the out of form Tiann Louw at number three in the batting order.
The Nepalese won the toss and elected to bat. Openers Mahesh Chhetri and Anil Mandal made a decent start with a 38 runs partnership for the first wicket that of Mandal, bowled by Keady Strauss for seven runs in the eighth over. Morne Engelbrecht then had Gyanendra Malla caught by Helao Ya France for a duck with the score at 47-2 and it was only a matter of time the Namibians provided further shock to the Asian champions when Louis van der Westhuizen caught and bowled Sagar Khadka, their most recognised batman, for seven runs. The Nepalese were already wobbling at 60 for three by now, a not too good sign.
Any hopes the Nepalese had of salvaging their innings rested on skipper Paras Khadka, known for unleashing masterly strokes at the slight opportunity, came to a disappointing finish as the lanky Kathmandu-born who is playing in his third Under-19 World Cup, lofted the ball into the safe hands off Sean Silver in the deep off Ya France for 12 and Nepal was stranded at 80-4, boosting the confidence of the Namibians.
Aakash Gupta, coming in to bat at No 6, gave a dolly catch to skipper Dawid Botha at mid-on off Silver after knocking 21 runs as the Nepalese slumped to 111-5 at the end of the 35th over. Ten runs later, Rahul B.K. was bowled by van der Westhuizen for three, leaving them wobbling at 121 for six.
Wicketkeeper Chhetri’s fine innings of 62 also came to an end when he was caught behind by Ewald Steenkamp asa he attempted to go for a big hit off Keady with just two overs remaining. Chhetri faced 134 balls and occupied the crease for 162 minutes. Rom Shrestha departed next as quickly as he came in, caught in the region at long on by Helao off Morne for 26 runs and Roy Shrestha followed soon, run out but not before adding one run to the board.
The last straw came when medium pace bowler Amrit Bhattarai, the last man standing, was left stranded for one when Pushpa Thapa did not respond to his call for a single with just one ball to spare and Nepal’s best was a 164 total.
Namibia’s bowling honours went to van der Westhuizen, Engelbreacht and Strauss who took two wickets each, giving away 17, 28 and 37 runs respectively. Ya France and Silver took one wicket each.
“I am rather disappointed with my boys in particular Paras (Khadka), Sagar and Gyanendra who played the ball up in the air and paid the price,” said Nepal team manager Tarak Dixit. “The pitch seems to favour the spinners as most wickets fell to the spinners operating on both ends.”
In reply, the Namibians had their fair share of mix fortunes. They lost opener Raymond van Schoor to a leg before wicket decision by English umpire Peter Hartley off Amrit Bhattarai without a run on the board in the second ball of the innings. One down batsman Claude Bouwer was run out by a well calculated throw from Thapa at square leg going for a foolish run with the Namibians total of 14 in the fourth over.
Skipper Botha was next to go, cleaned bowled by his opposite number Khadka for five runs, and by the 12th over the Namibians were starring at 29-3. Silver’s stumping by Chhetri off Rahul after putting up 41 runs was the best effort by a Namibian batsman as he parried the score to 89 for the fourth wicket.
The introduction of Khadka further demolished the Namibian spirit as the off-spinner removed Ewald Steenkamp for 11, caught in the deep by Raj Shrestha. This was followed immediately by Keady Strauss leaving the pitch when Rahul had him caught by Sagar for a duck as they coiled into an uncomfortable zone of 123-6 in 34 overs.
With 10 overs remaining and needing 28 runs for an outright victory and with four wickets in hand it was all left to van der Westhuizen to carry on the assault. However, his innings of 65 came to an end when he was caught by Rom Shrestha going for a big hit in the deep off Raj Shrestha much to the joy of Nepal.
Part time bowler Malla bowled the 45th over and removed Ya France, caught behind. A tense drama unfolded after this as the Namibians slowly crawled to 160-8, needing only five runs for their first win in the tournament from 14 balls. But Nepal will have nothing of that and Elandra Oosthuizen, in his haste to make a second run, was run out.
Namibia’s innings of 161 ended when Morne was bowled off the last ball in the 49th over by Malla, thus giving Nepal victory by three runs. A jubilant Nepalese wicketkeeper Mahesh Chhetri sparked off the wild celebrations when the ball hit the stumps for a very close finish.
Mahesh was duly adjudged the Man of the Match for his batting and fielding feats.
“The Namibians bowled vry well and this made scoring rather difficult,” said Chhetri, adding that he was totally focused on getting a big score to beef up his team’s target.
Namibia coach Louis Vorster said his boys faltered towards the end when victory seemed to be on their side. “My boys played some bad shots and the run outs were costly”, said Vorster.