NEPAL PROGRESS TO THE SEMIS

Gyanendra Malla receiving the Man of the Match Award from Sanjeeva Ranatunga

Nepal's overall excellence on the field carried them to their easiest win in the tournament so far as they defeated Oman by 8 wickets to enter the semi-finals.

All of the games played today were affected by rain at the start. It is a general belief that rainfall at the start of anything is a good sign; unfortunately this is not the case with the game of cricket. Club Aman was the venue yet again as rain delayed play for about 40 minutes before Nepal won the toss and put Oman in to bat.

Abhaya Rana in his first game of the tournament

Abhaya Rana (2-24) was given a chance to show his speedy skills with the ball as he replaced the rested Chandra Sawad. Rana made a good impression almost immediately as he had openers Gaurav Honavar (0) and Shrey Wilson (1) caught behind in his fourth and sixth overs respectively. Two very similar deliveries saw both batsmen completely miss-time their shots to provide a thick edge and an easy catch for keeper Mahesh Chettri, who took four catches and had two stumpings.

Amrit Bhattarai

Almost to say, “What you can do, I can do”, Amrit Bhattarai (2-13), bowling from the other end, clipped the top of the stumps in two consecutive balls, dismissing Jatinder Singh (2) and Abu Saud Haroon (0), putting Oman in a very uncomfortable position at 19-4 after 9 overs.

Venkataram: A good show

Nepal’s first change bowlers maintained the pressure on Suneet Fernandes (7) (who was hit in-between the pads and thigh pad thrice) and Vivek Venkataram (39) although Venkataram was slowly getting into his element. After scoring 32 against UAE yesterday, Nepal were surely aware of the damage he alone could cause and soon the spinners came on the break the partnership.

Raj Shrestha: Spinning away

The plan worked as Fernandes was caught napping in front of the stumps as the ball hit his pads and an over later, Nikhil Xavier (0) gifted his wicket to Raj Shrestha (2-13) standing at silly mid-off. Shrestha got the vital wicket of Venkataram in the 27th over and with him gone Shah Taha (17) felt the necessity to bat out the 50 overs.

Taha and Haitham Doshambeh (6) batted 13 overs while scoring just 19 runs frustrating the Nepalese bowlers. Oman’s goal of playing all 50 overs were nearly realised, but they were bowled out in the 48th over with a final score of just 90.

Gyanendra Malla reaches 50

Nepal were under no real pressure to get the runs quickly but in the 4th over Rom Shrestha threw away his wicket after he lobbed the ball to Vivek Venkataram. Shrestha, clearly disappointed with his choice of shot walked the length of the field with his head down. No real problems for Nepal though, as Mahesh Chettri (24) and Gyanendra Malla (58*) went on to post a 70-run partnership. Malla closed off the match in the 23rd over with a boundary as Nepal progressed into the semi-finals without losing a game.

Nepal’s coach, Roy Dias said that the performance of his team was up to his standards, but only in the semi-finals onwards will the team face their toughest challenge. For his classy performance with the bat, Gyanendra Malla took home his first man of the match award.

Nepal v Oman at Club Aman
NEPAL WON BY 8 WICKETS
Nepal won the toss and chose to field
Oman: 90 all out after 47.3 overs (V. Venkataram 39)
Nepal: 94 for 2 after 22.5 overs (G. Malla 58*)
Man of the Match: Gyanendra Malla (Nepal)

Scorecard

Filed August 25 2007