KATHMANDU: Nepal secured a nail-biting seven-run victory against Canada in the first match of the bilateral ODI series at TU International Cricket Ground in Kathmandu on Thursday.
Batting first after winning the toss, Nepal scored 224 runs, losing all wickets in the allotted 50 overs. Canada was all out for 217 runs with 13 balls to spare.
Nepal made a strong start with the bat as it added 48 runs for the first wicket in 10 overs. However, it failed to build on the momentum provided by the openers, losing wickets at regular intervals. Opener Kushal Bhurtel scored 62 runs off 58 balls but lost support at the other end as Aasif Sheikh and Rohit Poudel fell cheaply. He scored nine fours and one six in his innings. Both Bhim Sharki (20) and Kushal Malla (30) got starts but failed to convert them into big scores. Aarif Sheikh resurrected the Nepali innings by scoring 38 runs from 50 balls. Sompal Kami scored 15 runs off 34 balls. Pawan Sarraf and Surya Tamang contributed 15 runs and 10 runs, respectively.
Uday Bhagwan took three wickets for Canada, while Saad Bin Zafar and Isharjit Sohi had two wickets each to their name, and Shahid Ahmadzai and Harsh Thaker claimed a wicket each.
Chasing 225 to win, Canada made a poor start as it lost both openers with 35 runs on the board. However, Pargat Singh and Nicholas Kirton scored half-centuries to put Canada firmly on track in the chase. Kirton scored 68 runs off 99 balls before he was bowled by Pawan Sarraf, while Pargat Singh scored a 58-ball 50 before he was caught by Lalit Rajbanshi off Rohit Poudel. Canada, which was comfortably placed at 174/4 in the 33rd over, saw a batting collapse as it lost six wickets for just 43 runs.
Captain Rohit Poudel took four wickets for Nepal in his 8.5 overs spell, which included two maidens. Lalit Rajbanshi took two wickets, while Sompal Kami, Rijan Dhakal, Pawan Sarraf, and Kushal Malla took a wicket each.
The second match of the series will be played on Saturday.