Paras masterminds Pak downfall
Posted by Prabin the सोभित on सोमवार, मे 12, 2008
THE KATHMANDU POST REPORT
May 11 – Stand-in skipper Paras Khadka ambushed the visiting Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Academy batsmen with spin to help CAN XI register a 15-run upset win in the third match at the TU Cricket Ground Sunday.
Thrashed for 47 runs in the first two overs while defending a paltry total of 136, Paras used spinners from the third over and the tweakers rose to the occasion to bowl the visitors out in the 29th over with Sanjam Regmi’s five-wicket haul being the stand out performance.
Pakistan, boasting five players with ODI experience in the playing eleven, looked to be in a hurry and threatened to finish the chase in the seven overs before the scheduled lunch. Ahmed Shahzad took five fours off left arm seamer Amrit Bhattarai’s first over and his opening partner Raheel Majeed then hammered Dhirendra Chand for four boundaries and a six in the second over that also had a bye four.
Paras, captaining the side in place of Binod Das who was rested along with star allrounder Mehboob Alam, then brought Shakti Gauchan from Amrit’s end and replaced Dhirendra with Basanta Regmi to change the complexion of the match.
“The match became 70-30 (in favor of Pakistan) by the end of the second over and I had no option other than to bring spinners,” Paras said after the match. Shakti had Raheel, who got 27 off 14 with five fours and a six, caught by Gyanendra Malla in the last over before lunch to make it 63/1 and Basanta then made Ahmed, who made 32 off 25 with seven fours, hole out to Sharad Vesawkar in the first over after the resumption of play to put brakes on the scoring rate.
But the cocky Pakistanis continued to play aggressive strokes as if to put the vocal supporters in their place but once Khalid Latif, 20 off 22, was trapped in front by Sanjam in the 13th over as the fourth wicket at the team score of 91, no other batsman could break the shackles and could not even reach double figures.
Basanta took three wickets for 28 runs in his single spell of eight overs while Sanjam, who came after Shakti’s five-over spell, bowled unchanged to finish the match with magical figures of 8.3-4-6-5 to give Nepal a victory against the strongest opponents it may have faced till date. He conceded only two runs to the batsmen – the other four being wides.
Man-of-the-match Sanjam, who incurred the wrath of Pakistani speedsters in the previous two matches and was nearly flattened twice by Sohail Khan -already a senior international and touted as the next Shoaib Akhtar – in the first match, had the last laugh as he handed the Pakistani team an embarrassing loss after a hugely successful trip of Bangladesh. Sharad bowled five overs of fastish off-spin replacing Basanta and took a wicket as the visitors were bundled out for 121 runs in 28.3 overs.
“Sanjam bowled to the field and did not give away runs. That was crucial as we were defending a small total. The wicket by Shakti dai (elder brother) just before lunch was also crucial,” Paras tried to downplay his captaincy adding a cricketing cliche, “A captain is only as good as the team.”
Paras also singled out Shakti for his disciplined batting that gave Nepal a hope of competing -in his own words – after two comprehensive thrashings. Shakti made unbeaten 50 off 109 balls, the only fifty by a Nepali batsman in the series, and added crucial 56 runs for the seventh wicket with injured keeper batsman Mahesh Chhetri, who came in at No 8, after Nepal looked doomed at 45/6 in the 12th over. Sanjam (5) and Amrit (6) then helped Shakti complete his fifty as Nepal was dismissed for 136 in 38.2 overs.
Such was the dominance of the visiting bowlers that apart from Shakti and Mahesh, who made 20 off 50 balls, opener Paresh Lohani (11) was the only other batsman to cross double figures. Opening bowler Mohammad Aamir, playing his first match of the series, bowled through his quota of 10 overs taking 5/28 while Ahmed took 2/18.
“These are the toughest opponents we have played so far and we are not going to face such strong opponents even in Jersey. So, we are obviously confident about the WCL Div 5 after this victory,” Paras conceded. “But we have to improve our system if we have to make progress. Our batsmen always get exposed by quality bowlers and we can not always rely on our bowlers,” Paras warned.