It was a movie-like finish. The match between Oman and Nepal at the Tribhuvan University Ground witnessed a remarkable finish that turned grim towards the end.
Despite what seemed like a manageable run-chase of 146, Nepal faced adversity after being 43-2 initially. The loss of Kushal Bhurtel’s wicket triggered a collapse, bringing Nepal to a precarious 85-8, losing six wickets for a mere 42 runs.
The match seemed to stretch on as Kaleemullah bowled the penultimate over. Nepal required 42 runs, but the first four legal deliveries only added six runs, making their situation more challenging. Although a four and a six in the last two balls gave Nepal a glimpse of hope, they still needed 26 runs from Bilal Khan, who had only conceded 10 runs in his first three overs. It appeared highly unlikely that Nepal would secure the win even before the final over commenced.
Despite the odds, a 20-year-old, in his 11th T20I match and batting for only the fifth time, refused to surrender easily. He hammered three sixes in the first three legal deliveries, bringing Nepal tantalizingly close to an extraordinary victory. With just seven runs needed from three deliveries, Nepal appeared to be the favourite. However, the story took a sudden turn as Bilal Khan dismissed Bibek Yadav at 39. Avinash Bohara quickly took a single, giving a strike back to Karan KC. Needing six to win off the first ball, the tension peaked. Karan K.C tried to launch a six over long-on but ended up giving an easy catch to Kaleemullah. This led to Nepal’s heart-breaking loss by just five runs, leaving the crowd in stunned silence.
If @CricketBadge says he is lost for words to describe it, they must have been incredible scenes at TU. He still managed to find some, mind …
UAE’s fielders have just found out they’ll be facing Nepal in the deciding game tomorrow. Not sure they’re overly delighted
— Paul Radley (@PaulRadley) November 2, 2023
Earlier in the game, Nepal won the toss and chose to field. The early dismissals by Nepali pacers limited Oman to 38-4. Despite this, Skipper Zeeshan Maqsood’s contribution of 32 runs and valuable batting from Naseem Khushi (25) and Shakeel Ahmed (22) helped Oman reach 145-9, reaching a competitive total. Karan KC, who took a wicket in his first over, took 3-43 in his four-over spell. Meanwhile, Sompal Kami and Sandeep Lamichhane both took two wickets each, and Gulshan Jha and Abinash Bohara also contributed one wicket each. Sompal Kami also achieved his 50th T20I wicket, becoming the fourth Nepali bowler to do so.
Nepal will face the UAE in the upcoming semi-final match for a T20 World Cup spot, seeking retribution for last year’s defeat. In the previous encounter, UAE triumphed over Nepal by 68 runs, securing their T20 World Cup ticket to Australia. Now, Nepal aims to avenge that loss against their old rivals. UAE has won all three matches, finishing at the top of the group.
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