Lofti-Eaton’s record ton powers Namibia to third consecutive win against Nepal

Kathmandu, Feb. 28; Namibia gave continuity to its winning streak against Nepal as the travelling side defeated the host once again at the TU International Cricket Ground, this time in a friendly T20I tri-series with a 20-run victory. 

Nepal tasted the third consecutive defeat from the Richelieu Eagles as they faced each other in the opening match of a friendly T20I tri-series on Tuesday. Travelling to Nepal for the inaugural tri-series (ODI format) of ICC CWC League 2 (2024-27) which ended on February 25, Namibia and the Netherlands are staying for a friendly T20I series. 

Namibia defeated Nepal in the League 2 tri-series opener on February 15 and ended Nepal’s 15-match winning streak at TU Cricket Ground. Nepal could not register a win on home soil while facing Namibia in the second match of the League 2 series on February 21.

Loftie-Eaton’s record-century

Jan Nico Loftie-Eaton entered the crease after Namibia lost its third wicket in 10.4 overs. Namibia was then at 62 runs. However, in the next 52 balls, Lofti-Eaton, with Malan Kruger on the supporting end, took the team to 197. After JJ Smit took a single in the first ball he faced, Kruger ensured Namibia crossed the 200-run mark. Moreover, Kruger (59 off 48) took the Eagles to 206-4 by the end of the first inning.

Showering boundaries, Loftie-Eaton broke Nepal’s Kushal Malla’s record for the fastest T20I century. While Malla set the record after hitting a century in 34 balls, Loftie-Eaton reached his century in 33 balls with 11 fours and 8 sixes.

The record century helped Namibia register the highest total at TU in the last seven games. Nepal, Namibia and the Netherlands, in the ODI tri-series of League 2, were unable to score as much as 206 in six matches they faced each other. Namibia was the only team to reach the 200-run mark in the former tri-series as the Dutch were given a target of 204 in the duo’s second face-off on February 23.

Opener Michael van Lingen and JP Kotze also added 20 and 11 runs for the Namibian side. 

Gulshan Jha caught out Loftie-Eaton (101 off 36) as Abinash Bohora claimed his only wicket of the match in his final over. While Karan KC also bagged one, skipper Rohit Paudel took two.

JP Kotze was Paudel’s first victim as Bibek Yadav took a screamer near the boundary rope.

Nepal’s unsuccessful chase

Batting has been successful at the TU Ground in the afternoon period of late. Thus, Nepali fans expected the team to chase the mammoth target of 207.

However, with Kushal Bhurtel getting struck leg-before in the very first ball of the chase by Ruben Trumpelmann, it was nervousness that kicked off for the Rhino Army. 

Moreover, another big blow came for Nepal as soon as Aasif Sheikh departed in the 3rd over, the second over of Trumpelmann, after getting caught by Jan Frylinck. Trumpelmann went on to take two more wickets.

Dangerous Dipendra Singh Airee was Trumpelmann’s third victim. Trumpelmann restricted Airee from getting a half-century as Airee (48 off 32) got caught behind the stumps while trying to hit a short delivery in 18.4 overs. Trumpelmann bundled out Nepal as he bowled out Abinash Bohora in the very next ball for a golden duck.

Skipper Rohit Paudel and Kushal Malla were able to raise hope for Nepal in the middle order, but they failed to take the team to the win. Paudel added 42 off 24 and Malla scored 32 off 21 before getting out in the 8th and 10th overs respectively.

Sompal Kami (26 off 11) was able to make Namibia worry in the low order, but he too departed after hitting three maximums and a four.

Gulshan Jha could only play a cameo role as he departed in the sixth ball he faced after hitting a six and a four. Sundeep Jora, Bibek Yadav and Karan KC also departed for single figures as Nepal got bundled out at 186 runs in 18.5 overs.

Alongside the four-wicket haul of Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz, Jan Frylinck and Loftie-Eaton bagged two wickets each. Lofti-Eaton was the player of the match for his record century and two wickets.

The Netherlands is facing Nepal and Namibia at the TU Cricket Ground on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

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