Nepal end West Indies A series on a high despite losing series

Nepal celebrate a wicket on the way to a victory in the fifth T20 against West Indies A
Nepal celebrate a wicket on the way to a victory in the fifth T20 against West Indies A

The hosts took the field aiming to salvage some pride in front of packed home fans in the fifth and final T20 series at TU cricket ground, having already lost the series.

Despite losing the toss the fourth consecutive time, they managed to secure a much-needed victory on this occasion.

The West Indies made several changes, including resting in-form batter Andre Fletcher for the contest. Skipper Rohit Paudel’s one-handed blinder gave Sagar Dhakal his first wicket in the form of the Windies opener Kadeem Alleyne (11).

Sompal took the wicket of Mark Deyal, but the replay confirmed he had overstepped. Johnson Charles, who had been lightning against Nepali bowlers in the previous two matches, played cautiously this time, scoring 24 off 20 balls before giving an easy catch to Sagar Dhakal while trying to work on the leg side.

Two balls later, Dhakal had Mark Deyal (11 off 19) caught at deep mid-wicket, again with the fielder being Skipper Rohit who took an easy catch.

Skipper Roston Chase (33) looked good until he chipped the ball straight to long-on, where the fielder Jora took a good low catch. Alick Athanaze, who was demoted down to 5, scored an unbeaten 29-ball 42 and Matthew Forde smashed a 12-ball 23, helping the visitors reach 172/7.

Sompal Kami stood out as the best bowler with figures of 3/16 from his 4 Overs. His two overs at the end went for only 5 runs, picking three wickets. Abinash Bohara, who started well with a wicket in the first over, missed his mark at the back end as he leaked 44 runs in the last 3 overs.

Having lost three matches on the trot, the hosts were under pressure to win the last game of the series for the fans. Kushal Bhurtel lofted Matthew Forde for consecutive boundaries to get going. Unfortunately, out of form, Bhurtel miscued his favourite pull shot, falling for 13 off 9. His 32 runs in 4 innings (in this series) have given much worry to Nepali fans going into the World Cup.

The dashing opening batter bagged three consecutive ducks in the recently concluded ACC Men’s Premier Cup. Anil Sah (58) stitched a 96-run partnership with Asif Sheikh (51) to put Nepal on track in a run-chase. Nepal would feel a sense of relief seeing their wicketkeeper-batsman reach fifty, especially after he had four single-digit scores in the previous four matches. Anil Sah, who had a subdued series, registered his first T20 fifty.

Initially, he scored 20 off his first 24 balls but then accelerated to reach 50 off 41 balls, scoring 30 runs in the next 17 deliveries. Kushal Malla, one of the two players from Nepal to feature in all five matches, blasted an unbeaten 18-ball 37 to seal the win for Nepal home, winning by six wickets.

This is Nepal’s third-highest successful run-chase in T20 history. As the match neared its dramatic finale, with 22 runs required from the last two overs, Malla quickly turned the tables by scoring 22 runs off Obed McCoy in just five deliveries.

Left-arm spinner Sagar Dhakal was named the player of the match for his 3/17. The series, which began with a thrilling 200-plus run-chase, ended with a consolation win for the home team. Despite missing the chance to win the series, Nepal showed resilience against a strong Windies team known for their brute force and flair.

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