Win for Nepal as USA suffer second defeat in World Cup Qualifier
SUMMARY: Nepal 211-4 from 43 overs (Bhim Sharki 77*, Dipendra Singh Airee 39*, Kushal Bhurtel 39) beat USA 207 from 49 overs (Shayan Jahangir 100*; Karan Khatri Chhetri 4-33) by six wickets
Nepal medium-pacer Karan Khatri Chhetri left a devastated USA top-order in his wake with 4-11 in a seven-over new-ball burst to set up a six-wicket win at Takashinga Sports Club.
For the second match in a row, a maiden ODI century was made in vain for USA as Shayan Jahangir was left unbeaten on an even 100 off 79 balls with his side bowled out for 207 in 49 overs.
Coming off a golden duck against Zimbabwe, Bhim Sharki‘s unbeaten 77 ensured the total was hauled down with ease as they cantered across the line with seven overs to spare.
Nepal captain Rohit Paudel won the toss and didn’t hesitate to send USA in to bat under moist early morning conditions. Karan struck with his fifth ball, trapping Steven Taylor with an inswinging yorker to win an lbw appeal.
With USA captain Monank Patel out of the line-up sitting back in his hotel room battling illness, Sai Mukkamalla was bumped up to No. 3 but lasted just a single ball as a nervy prod at an outswinger on the fourth stump line produced an edge that carried low to Aarif Sheikh at first slip to make it 6 for 2.
Stand-in captain Aaron Jones survived a missed run-out as well as a drop in his painstaking two off 22 balls before a delivery from Karan climbed off the shoulder of his defensive prod and carried to Kushal Bhurtel at gully in the eighth over.
Nosthush Kenjige, who batted at No. 9 against West Indies, was sent up to No. 5 as USA’s batting reshuffle continued without desirable results when he poked well away from his body to send another edge low to Aarif at slip for one to make it 18 for 4 in the 10th. It was a new-ball performance that locked up Player-of-the-Match honors.
Coming off a century against West Indies, Gajanand Singh got another start but was unable to convert it on this occasion, edging Dipendra Singh Airee’s off-spin to Aarif at slip for 26. Sushant Modani watched all the carnage unfold at the opposite end and did his best to stave off Nepal’s bowling unit.
The opener made 42 off 71 balls before he finally gave in, playing an ill-advised sweep shot to left-arm spinner Lalit Rajbanshi and saw his middle stump knocked back.
Jahangir arrived at No. 7 and did his best to shoulder the load with the tail. Entering the day with a best of 39 in his ODI career, he reached a maiden half-century off 56 balls before taking just another 23 balls to reach three figures as he carted a series of lofted cover drives to and over the off-side boundary.
However, the single he took to bring up the three-figure landmark left the tail exposed. Gulshan Jha bowled Saurabh Netravalkar on the very next ball before last man Kyle Phillip was pinned lbw two balls later to end the innings with six balls unused.
Nepal were rarely troubled in the chase. Aasif Sheikh fell for 12 to a questionable lbw decision given in favor of Netravalkar that struck the batter high above his pads to end the fifth over at 25-1.
Bhurtel and Sharki teamed up for a brisk 49-run stand that ended when the former was teased into a slog sweep that produced a top edge back to left-arm spinner Kenjige for 39.
Captain Paudel stayed mostly in his shell in making 16 before trying to clear mid-off in the ring against left-arm spinner Nisarg Patel but miscued the shot to Jessy Singh diving forward on the circle.
Kushal Malla exited after a hasty run-a-ball 13, slogging Taylor’s offspin flat to long-off to make it 137-4 in the 33rd over.
But Sharki kept his cool and teamed with Airee for an unbeaten 74-run stand that spanned just 10.4 overs. Sharki took 97 balls to get to his half-century, but spurred on by the arrival of Airee, unfurled a series of sweep shots to accelerate alongside Airee, who pumped a series of straight drives to the boundary in his 39 not out off 32 balls.
A straight drive by Airee to the mid-on rope for his fifth boundary clinched Nepal’s first win of the tournament, while USA stand winless after two matches. (ESPNcricinfo)