Nepal tastes 4th consecutive defeat at TU losing to the Dutch by 2 runs

Kathmandu, Feb. 29: The Nepali men’s cricket team, on home soil, is continuing its losing streak. The streak reached four on Wednesday as Nepal lost to the Netherlands by two runs in the second match of the friendly T2o tri-series.

The losing streak started after Nepal lost to Namibia in the second face-off of the inaugural League 2 tri-series. 

The defeat to the Dutch team in the final match of the League 2 tri-series followed by another loss to Namibia in the opening match of the T20 tri-series on Tuesday made it three.

And it became four after losing to the Dutch side on Wednesday after falling short of only two runs. 

A decent target

Nepal won the toss and decided to chase the target after the Netherlands batted first. And opener Michael Levitt ensured that Nepal did not get an easily chasable target.

While Max O’Dowd, another opener, departed for only 4 off 6 in the first ball of the 3rd over, Levitt was able to go past the 50-run mark and give the Netherlands a good start before departing in the 9th. O’Dowd was caught by Dipendra Singh Airee in Karan KC’s delivery.

With three sixes and five fours, Levitt, who was stumped in the delivery of Kushal Malla, scored 54 runs in 36 deliveries. Karan and Kushal were the only wicket-takers, with one each, in the match where Nepal used seven bowlers.

Contributing with over 30 runs each, skipper Scott Edwards (33 off 16) and Teja Nidamanuru (31 off 24) were run out. Nidamanuru got run out in the last ball of the inning and Sybrand Engelbrecht stayed not out with one run short for his half-century.

While the Netherlands lost four wickets to paste a decent target of 185 runs, the Dutch side defended it as Nepal could only score 182 runs in the loss of eight wickets by the end of 20 overs.

Falling short of 2 runs

Nepal was a step forward in the chase until Dipendra Singh Airee was at the crease. However, after he departed in the fourth ball of the final over, bowler Pratish GC, who was batting for the first time in his second T20I for the senior team, could not add four runs in the last two balls. 

Airee, with 63 off 34, took Nepal near the win after skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel and opener Aasif Sheikh added enough runs on the board despite losing opener Kushal Bhurtel for a duck in the first over. Airee’s inning helped Nepal reach 181 runs in 19.3 overs from 126/6 in 15.3 overs.

Paudel (50 off 36) departed after registering his half-century while Sheikh (34 off 23) was stumped. Bhurtel was caught behind the stumps in the fourth ball of the first over. Meanwhile, Sompal Kami returned for a golden duck in the 16th over.

Kushal Malla and Karan KC also added 11 runs each before returning to the pavilion while Sundeep Jora added 8 off 6.

Experienced Roelof van der Merwe took two wickets alongside restricting GC to score winning runs in the final over. While Sybrand Engelbrecht also bagged two, Vivian Kingma, Timm van der Gugten and Aryan Dutt took one wicket each. 

‘Trying to build squad’

Talking to the media after the loss, Coach Monty Desai said that, despite the loss, he was happy to see the team playing courageously till the end. 

Similarly, when asked about regular changes in the squad, Desai responded, “Everything that we are doing right now is for….the T20 World Cup. 

We are trying to build a squad where we have certain skills that will come out in the game. We are looking at how the players perform under pressure.”

Desai also stressed that the team would not stop its winning mentality despite the recent losses. 

Nepal faces Namibia and the Netherlands in the second phase of the T20 tri-series on March 1 and 2 respectively. The top two teams in the tri-series will play in the final on March 5.

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