Ireland Wolves whitewash 3-OD series

Kathmandu, Apr. 8: Ireland Wolves were unable to clean sweep the 3-T20 series as Nepal A won the third match; however, the travelling side successfully whitewashed the 3-OD series after winning the final match on Sunday.

Ireland Wolves, the second-tier team of a Test nation, arrived in Nepal and played two T20 matches against the senior squad on March 24 and 25. The Irish side lost the first two matches; meanwhile, the team bounced back against Nepal’s second-tier team.

The tourists defeated Nepal A in the first two matches of the 3-T20 series on March 29 and 30. Registering a win in the third T20 on April 1, Nepal A was able to prevent a clean sweep.

Nevertheless, Nepal A could not win a single match in the 3-OD series played on April 3, 5 and 7.

Best one-day match

The third and final match of the 3-OD series was the best confrontation between the two teams as it was the only match where an inning reached the final powerplay.

The third match also saw the two teams scoring their highest runs. While Ireland A gave a target of 158 and 175 in the first two matches respectively, the invited team posted a mammoth total of 284 runs in the loss of nine wickets on Sunday.

Opener Stephen Doheny was the hero for Ireland Wolves as it was the result of his brilliant century that Ireland could cross the 280-run mark.

Falling as the eighth wicket in 46.2 overs, Stephen scored 107 runs off 129 deliveries with eight fours and two sixes. Peter Moor was the second-highest scorer for Ireland Wolves with 44 off 25. The bottom-four batsmen also scored in double figures and supported to extend the total.

Three players – Bikash Aagri, Ranjit Kumar and Rupesh Singh – debuted for Nepal A on Sunday. Ranjit bagged three wickets and Bikash took one wicket in their debut while Rupesh could not open his account in the five overs he bowled. Rijan Dhakal also took three wickets while Shahab Alam took one.

Arjun’s century insufficient

While Stephen played a great knock as an opener for Ireland, Arjun Kumal did the same for Nepal A. However, Arjun’s individual performance was not enough.

Facing 118 deliveries, Arjun scored 102 runs with the help of 14 boundaries. Stephen stumped Arjun in 34.4 overs leaving Nepal A at 204/6.

Another opener Arjun Saud was Nepal A’s second-highest scorer with 36 off 30. Dev Khanal, Naren Bhatta and Rupesh Singh added 11, 15 and 15 runs respectively and were the only other batsmen to score in double digits for the team.

It was Ben White who took the wicket of Arjun Kumal and ended Nepal’s chance for a win. By the end of the match, Ben had taken five wickets. Similarly, Gavin Hoey took a four-wicket haul while Matthew Foster bagged one wicket to bundle out Nepal at 215 runs in 39.4 overs.

Best performances

Arjun Kumal was adjudged the Best Striker while Ben White was the Most Valuable Player of the series. Similarly, Stephen was awarded as the Player of the Match. 

Matthew Humphreys, who did not take any wickets in the third ODI, was awarded as the Player of the Series for taking 11 wickets in two matches. He also played a supportive inning with the bat on Sunday as he contributed 23 off 34.

‘We want to return’

The newly formed Nepal A was lucky to get a chance to play against Ireland’s A team. As per the Cricket Association of Nepal, developing the A team would intensify the bench strength of the senior squad.

“The players are doing good to meet the expectations for which the team was formed. We could have won the final match if other batsmen than Arjun Kumal would have performed as well. Meanwhile, I believe this team will perform better in the upcoming days,” said Binod Bhandari, skipper of Nepal A.

Likewise, receiving the Player of the Match award, Stephen informed that the squad was happy to have played in Nepal. 

“It was a really competitive series. We stayed calm despite Nepal taking control in the middle overs because we knew we could take quick wickets if we could just break the momentum. Spinners played a major role for us,” said Stephen.

Expressing gratitude for the series, Stephen and Matthew said the team would love to return to Nepal and play cricket again as they enjoyed their time here.

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