New ‘Nepal A’ team loses first match against Canada XI

Kathmandu, Feb. 19: Introducing the 16-men squad to represent Nepal’s A team, on February 14, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), a day later on February 15, revealed a three ODI series of the new team with Canada’s first team.

Playing the first of the three ODIs against Canada XI at the Upper Mulpani International Cricket Ground on Sunday, the second-tier national team started its campaign with a loss. 

Canada, a team desperate for a win after losing all three matches in the series against Nepal’s senior team recently, defeated Nepal A by four wickets.

Stepping on the field to bat first, Nepal lost its first wicket in the eighth over as Arjun Kumal (4 off 14) fell victim to Canada’s captain Saad Bin Zafar. Mayan Yadav followed Kumal in the 15th over after adding 35 off 56 deliveries. 

Captain Binod Bhandari (5 off 11), who was making a comeback into the national jersey after a long gap, departed early as he was struck leg before by Saad in the 18th over.

Danger-looking Rashid Khan was Saad’s third wicket in the inning as he bowled Khan in the 34th over. Till then, Khan (40 off 66), partnering with Sundeep Jora and Kiran Thagunna, took the team to 134/5.

Sundeep departed in the 24th, contributing 14 off 25, while Thagunna added 25 runs before returning to the dugout in the 35th.

Basir Ahamad, who came in at eight, was the lifesaver for Nepal as his half-century propelled Nepal to a decent total of 216 runs. With three fours and a six, Basir reached his half-century in the final ball of the first inning facing his 55th delivery. Nepal lost eight wickets to Canada.

Ishwarjot Sohi bagged two wickets while Dilon Heyliger, Harsh Thaker and Shahid Ahamdzai took one each for Canada.

Canada, on the other hand, lost six wickets and chased the target in the final over with three balls remaining. Navneet Dhaliwal saved Canada in the middle overs and Nikhil Dutta took the team to the win in the final overs.

Dhaliwal departed at 80 off 76 balls while Dutta stayed not out at 67 runs in 115 deliveries. Dutta was supported by Shreyas Movva as he stayed not out at 23 off 27.

While captain Saad contributed 23 off 43 in the middle order, the top-three batsmen and Harsh Thaker did not score in double figures. 

Shahab Alam bagged two wickets, missing a hattrick, while Pratish GC, Rashid Khan, Sagar Dhakal and Basir Ahamad claimed one wicket each for Nepal.

Nepal A and Canada will play the second of the 3 ODIs on February 20 and the last one on February 22.

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