Muscat – Kushal Malla and Sandeep Lamichhane shone with bat and ball respectively as Nepal defeated Oman by 84 runs in a Group A match of the ACC Men’s Premier Cup at TU Cricket Ground in Kathmandu on Thursday.
Malla slammed his maiden century (108 off 64 balls) while Lamichhane picked up three for 45 to give the hosts their second successive win to lead the table.
Chasing a mammoth target of 311 after Nepal recovered amazingly from 0 for the loss of two wickets, Oman failed to find an answer to the strong Nepal bowling attack as they were bowled out for 226 in 46.3 overs.
Mohammed Nadeem and Sandeep Goud were the only notable batters who put up a good fight. Nadeem hit an 84-ball 65 that included seven boundaries and a six while Goud made a 56-ball 46 that had three boundaries and two maximums.
The duo shared a crucial 96-run stand in nearly 20 overs after Oman were left struggling at 99/5 in the 23rd over.
Opener Jatinder Singh departed early and a wrist injury to star batter Aqib Ilyas meant that Adeel Shafique was promoted up the order. Lamichhane struck a double blow in the 13th over when he had Shafique leg-before and skipper Zeeshan Maqsood bowled in a space of three balls to put Oman on the back foot.
Oman were down to 52/3 and Kashyap Prajapati was Lamichhane’s third wicket as Oman’s top-order was back in hut for 55.
Ayaan Khan, who had hit a half-century in Oman’s opening win against Qatar, along with Nadeem shared a 44-run stand before departing with the team’s score at 99. Nadeem and Goud then joined hands after Ayaan left for 29 to take the team to 195 in 41 overs.
Goud and Nadeem were dismissed in quick succession to extinguish any hopes for a successful chase. With Ilyas unable to bat, a major worry for the upcoming games, Oman were out for 226 in 47th over.
Karan KC was the other successful bowler with three for 62 while Dipendra Singh Airee took 2/29.
Earlier, Oman pacers Bilal Khan and Kaleemullah gave the team a dream start as the hosts were reduced to zero for loss of two wickets with Bilal dismissing Kushal Bhurtel and Kaleemullah castling Aasif Sheikh.
The early joy for Oman didn’t last long as the Nepal batters took the attack to the rival end with a 54-run third wicket between skipper Rohit Paudel and Bhim Sharki. Their exits got Malla and Aarif Sheikh together and the duo stitched a 72-run stand to lay a platform for a big total.
Malla, in particular, displayed an array of strokes around the ground as he hammered ten sixes and nine boundaries.
Along with Sompal Kami, who scored a 48-ball 63 with nine hits to the ropes, they shared a 49-run partnership before Karan made a 15-ball 29 and took the team past the 300-mark.