Karan KC strode to the crease at Al Amerat when the Dutch dismissed young Rohit Paudel. Nepal needed 41 from 22. After Binod Bhandari – yesterday’s POTM with 58* against Hong Kong – went for 26, another seemingly impossible task was left in front of KC: 28 from 12. But this is Karan KC.
In 2018, his 42* during ‘that’ WCL2 match against Canada locked in a World Cup Qualifier spot for Nepal. From that event, the side won themselves a place in the new CWC League 2 which saw the country awarded coveted ODI status for the first time.
When the ninth wicket fell in that particular game in Windhoek – on the last day of World Cricket League 2‘s round-robin – Nepal needed 51 off 47 balls. He and Sandeep Lamichhane made up the 10th wicket partnership.
Today in Muscat, Karan took 4/17 to help his side restrict the Netherlands to 133. A day earlier his 4/36 was the key spell when Hong Kong made 126/6 from their 20 overs, a total Nepal chased down with 4 wickets in hand.
The Dutch had their chance to dismiss the danger man. On the fourth ball of the penultimate over, what appeared would be a simple catch to long-on from KC made it over the boundary for six due to the fielder being too far inside the rope. And by the time Shane Snater bowled a long hop that disappeared out of the ground over mid-wicket on the first ball of the last stanza, it was hard not to feel a Nepal win was a fait accompli…despite them still requiring 11 from 5.
KC backed away to the next ball which must have just been inside the wide line on the offside. The Umpire shook away Karan’s urges for it to be called a wide. A dot. 11 from 4.
Slipping over in his delivery stride from the third ball, Snater’s full toss outside off stump was drilled for four behind point. Roelof van der Merwe could not do any more than merely motion with his arm at the ball speeding over the boundary 20 metres away from him after Karan’s slashed square drive. 7 from 3.
Maintaining that same line again, the third ball of the over was just short of a half volley length and with a slight movement of his front foot to the legside in order to open his stance, the lofted off-drive sailed wide of, and over long-off whose only role in the event was to collect the ball and throw it back. Scores level. Much rejoicing by the Nepal crowd. 1 from 2.
Karan KC edged the next ball on to his body and it trickled into the off-side. After he and Sompla Kami scampered through for the single to win it, the hero gave a big fist pump. Another seemingly impossible chase. Another Karan KC masterclass. Another Nepal win.