Netherlands defeat Nepal, clinch Tri-nation T20I series title

athmandu, Mar. 6:The Netherlands defeated Nepal by four wickets to win the final match of the Tri-nation T20I Series at the TU International Cricket Ground on Tuesday. With the Dutch side lifting the T20I series title, Namibia and the Netherlands’ cricketing journey to Nepal since mid-February has come to an end. 

Nepal’s TU Ground hosted Namibia and the Netherlands for 13 matches (six League 2 matches and seven T20 matches) since February 15.

Nepal had reached the final defeating Namibia and the Netherlands in the second faceoff after losing the first two matches of the T20 tri-series played in a double round-robin format. 

On the other hand, with two wins in the first two matches, the Dutch side, based on points, reached the final as the deciding match against Namibia on Sunday was abandoned due to rain.

While Nepal’s performance had not been effective since the League 2 tri-series, defeating the two visiting teams in the second confrontation and reaching the final of the T20 tri-series raised hope for Nepali cricket fans. However, the Dutch side shattered the expectations as they outperformed Nepal in the final.

Batting fails for Nepal

When one batting order performs, the other one fails for Nepal, and it has been consistent in most of the matches, including the final against the Netherlands on Tuesday.

Electing to bat first, openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh started for Nepal. Bhurtel gave Nepal a kick start as he scored 20 runs off 9 deliveries, but in the 10th ball he faced, Timm van der Gugten bowled him out. Nepal was at 23/1 in 3.3 overs with 

Bhurtel’s departure.

Skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel then partnered with Aasif for th e second wicket and the duo added 59 off 35. Paudel (25 off 19) departed in the 10th over leaving the team at 82/2.

While the wickets were falling, Aasif was keeping the team in the game by scoring more and more runs with young Gulshan Jha. The duo added 43 off 29 until Aasif departed in 13.4 overs falling only three runs short of his half-century.

Nepal was in good shape until then as the team had six overs and seven wickets in hand. While many hoped the upcoming batters to score similarly and cross the 200-run mark, the Dutch 

side denied it.

Dipendra Singh Airee, in at five, getting out for a single run in the third ball he faced turned the momentum in the visitors’ side. Kushal Malla hit three sixes in a row to Michael Levitt in the 17th over, but departed in the next over for 26 off 11.

Gulshan (34 off 25) was caught out in the first ball of the 19th over bowled by Fred Klaassen. Coming down the order at nine, Aarif Sheikh got out for a golden duck in the very next ball and Fred was on a hat-trick. Fred’s hattrick was foiled by Pratish GC as he defended and took a single.

Staying not out, Pratish, with Sompal Kami, took Nepal to 184/8 by the end of 20 overs. Klassen, Gugten, Levitt and Sybrand Engelbrecht took two wickets each for the Netherlands as Edwards used seven bowlers in the 20-over game.

Solid Dutch chase 

Michael Levitt, the highest scorer of the series, started the chase by hitting a six in the first ball of the inning by Karan KC. Levitt, with experienced Max O’Dowd, partnered until the ninth over and busted Nepal’s bowling.

O’Dowd added 22 off 23 while Levitt scored 54 off 29 before getting caught out in 8.1 and 8.5 overs respectively in the spell of Kushal Malla.

However, breaking one partnership was not enough. In at three and four, Vikramjit Singh and Sybrand Engelbrecht respectively ensured that the team was near the target. 

Before departing in 15.2 and 18.1 overs, Singh and Engelbrecht added 29 and 48 runs respectively. And Gugten, scoring 21 off only five balls, won the match for the Netherlands by successfully chasing the target with 

three balls remaining.

Best performances

Michael Levitt was the highest-scorer with 247 runs in four innings (five matches). Levitt scored the highest run of an inning (135 runs) and was the second batsman to score a century in the tri-series. Namibia’s Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton was the first to score a century in the series (100 off 33); it was the fastest century in T20I. 

Kushal Malla, with seven wickets, was the highest wicket-taker alongside Namibia’s Ruben Trumpelmann. However, Malla ranked above Trumpelmann based on the economy. 

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