Series levelled as West Indies ‘A’ defeats Nepal in 2nd T20

Kathmandu, Apr. 29: While Nepal’s skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel, with a century, guided the team to a historic win against West Indies ‘A’ in the first T20, he could not take the team to a consecutive win single-handedly by winning the 2nd T20 on Sunday.

Paudel stayed not out at 71 off 48 alongside Sagar Dhakal with only one wicket in hand. Despite a series of changes in the batting lineup and order, none of the batsmen, except the captain, scored satisfactorily while chasing a far lower target than the 1st T20 on Saturday.

Nepal had made four changes to the squad in the second T20. While Abinash Bohara, Bibek Yadav, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi and Kamal Singh Airee were dropped, they were replaced by Lokesh Bam, Aarif Sheikh, Sompal Kami and Sagar Dhakal.

The TU International Cricket Ground was buzzing with Nepali fans as the skipper was at the crease until the end with Nepal requiring 17 runs of the final over. Facing five of the six deliveries in the 20th over of the chase, Paudel, who helped chase 205 runs on Saturday, could only add five runs, and Nepal lost the match by 10 runs.

Bam opened the chase with Kushal Bhurtel while Bhurtel’s earlier opening partner Anil Kumar Sah was in at three. Sah entered the crease soon as Bhurtel departed for a paltry 2 off 8 in the 4th over, but Sah (1 off 5) joined Bhurtel back in the pavilion in the very next over. 

Bam was the third wicket that fell for Nepal in 5.5 overs. With only one ball remaining in the 1st powerplay, Nepal got another blow as Kushal Malla got runout for a duck. At the end of six overs, Nepal was at 28/4.

Paudel, who entered at four, partnered with in-at-six Gulshan Jha for the next two overs. Jha, with 26 off 11, took the team to 61 runs before departing in 8.2 overs. Moreover, after Aarif Sheikh (12 off 16) and Dipendra Singh Airee (3 off 5) fell as the sixth and seventh wickets respectively, the skipper had no one to build a match-winning partnership. 

“Our bowlers performed well during the first powerplay that helped us restrict West Indies ‘A’ to a low total. However, we could not build good partnerships with the bat and chase it,” said Paudel at the post-match ceremony.

Aakash Chand (7 off 5) also played a cameo and helped the chase reach the final over; however, the chase could not end successfully.

Obed McCoy and Gudakesh Motie bagged two wickets each for West Indies ‘A’ while Oshane Thomas and Roston Chase took one each.

Gudakesh strikes

Gudakesh, who was the Player of the Match, did not only show magic with the ball but the bat as well. In at nine, Gudakesh scored four sixes and two fours and added 33 off only eight deliveries to take the West Indies to 160.

Then, he took two wickets – Bam and Sheikh – with the ball and was the most economic bowler for the team. Gudakesh only gave 22 runs in his spell of four overs.

If it was not for Gudakesh, the West Indies would have been restricted to a lesser total.  Sagar Dhakal was able to send the two West Indian openers – Johnson Charles (11 off 9) and Alick Athanaze (6 off 6) – back to the dugout in the third over. In at three, Andre Fletcher, with lifelines, reached 43 off 36 and was the highest scorer for the team.

Skipper Roston Chase (23 off 22) could not do enough today as he was bowled out by Bhurtel in the 10th over. Four more wickets fell for the travelling side after the departure of the skipper, but when everything was getting shattered for the West Indies, Gudakesh came to the rescue.

Alongside Dhakal, Bhurtel also went on to take two wickets while Dipendra and Sompal Kami took one each. 

The five-match T20 series has been levelled 1-1 after the win of West Indies ‘A’ paving path for the 3rd T20 to be a more competitive one.

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