NEPAL TURN THE SCREW

Paras Khadka receiving the Man of the Match award from Nondescripts President Ranjit Fernando

Nepal played astute cricket to first set and then defend a total of 234 to win their final group match against Ireland.

As ever, Kanishka Chaugai started off punching cuts and drives across the ground and raced to 40 off just 36 deliveries (5 fours and a six) before he fell to the first ball he faced from left-arm spinner Gary Kidd.

A run-rate of six an over was always going to be hard to sustain but what distinguished the remainder of the batsmen following the Nepalese openers was how positively they played, concentrating on the basics – playing in the V, finding the gaps and running between the wickets. Sarad Veswakar, who finished unbeaten on 82, set a fine example and feeding off his assurance, his partners similarly brought their best game to the field.

Sarad Vesawkar punching through the infield

An 89-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Paras Khadka put Nepal into a strong position and the momentum wasn’t significantly lost in the closing stages of their innings, unlike in the previous matches. It leads one to think that Nepal really only lost to England and Zimbabwe not through any lack of ability but a lack of knowing how to grab a victory. At this level no team capitulates. Victories must be seized through the correct application of the correct principles. Nepal are on a learning curve and this is another lesson that has needed to be absorbed.

Sarad Vesawkar

Nepal lost to England and Zimbabwe not because those teams, as their captains readily admitted, played brilliant cricket. Nepal lost because they had no answer to teams that did nothing else but the basics in defending a total.

Defending 234, Nepal did the basics. A couple of half-chances were let slip and there was a wild throw or two from the outfield but from the onset Nepal kept Ireland away from any sniff of victory. Nepal though, were up against a potential top-class player in left-hander Eoin Morgan, who unfurled some sumptuous drives, cuts and pulls which, for economy of movement, timing and precision revealed a rare talent. Still, for all his efforts, boundaries were at a premium. The rest of Morgan’s team-mates could only manage five other boundaries.

Nepal, with men in the deep and an attack directed at the stumps, played the waiting game. The required run-rate climbed steadily. By the time the last 100 deliveries were due to be bowled Ireland needed 103 more runs and no one, not even Morgan seemed to be able to get them there.

Eoin Morgan tries to break free

He fell in a flurry of wickets for Nepal, having made 86, and Ireland, having come so close to victory against England the day before, were beaten.

Nepal lining up to accept the congratulations of the Ireland team.

Paras Khadka had taken charge of the team in the 16th over, Chaugai having withdrawn from the field to protect a sore shoulder which prevents him throwing, and did an excellent job in marshalling his troops. For that, eight economical overs and a feisty 47, he was adjudged Man of the Match.

Thanks to this victory, Nepal now meet Uganda in the Plate Championship Quarter-Final on February 14. Ireland have the privilege of playing either Pakistan or New Zealand next.

Group D: Ireland v Nepal, Nondescripts Cricket Club
NEPAL WON BY 60 RUNS
Ireland won the toss and elected to field.
Nepal: 234 for 8 off 50 overs (K. Chaugai 40, S. Vesawkar 82*, P. Khadka 47; N. McDarby 3-43)
Ireland: 174 off 45.3 overs (E. Morgan 86)
Man of the Match: Sharad Vesawkar (Nepal)

Filed February 10 2006