Kathmandu, June 18
Hosts Zimbabwe comprehensively beat Nepal by eight wickets in the opening game of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier at Harare Sports Club on June 18.
Having been put to bat by the hosts, Nepal’s openers started the game in an attacking fashion. Kushal Bhurtel took the game to Zimbabwean bowlers attacking every loose delivery. On the other end, Aasif Sheikh played a composed inning as the opening pair put up 171 runs for the first wicket. Bhurtel was unlucky to miss out on a century as he was bowled by Wellington Masakadza for 99. Sheikh soon followed Bhurtel into the dressing room after a well-made 66.
Despite such a great start, Nepal’s middle order could not capitalise. Despite a 72-run stand between Kushal Malla and Rohit Paudel, who scored 41 and 31 respectively, the team kept losing wickets at regular intervals as Nepal only managed to score 291 in 50 overs.
The score could have gone beyond 300 but Zimbabwe’s Richard Ngarava picked up four wickets to restrict Nepal to a par score.
In reply, Zimbabwe did not get off to the best of starts losing opener Joylord Gumbie early. But a solid partnership between captain Craig Ervine and Wessly Madhevere steadied the innings for the hosts as they put up 82 runs. Madhevere held out to Dipendra Singh Airee as he tried to take on a short delivery from Gulshan Jha.
But Ervine and Sean Williams carried the momentum forward putting up a 164-run stand and taking the hosts home with nearly six overs to spare. Ervine scored an impressive 128 ball 121 while Williams scored a blistering 102 of 70 balls.
Nepal’s bowling performance was below par, lacking the ability to build pressure, resulting in a comprehensive victory for the hosts.
Nepal will play the USA on Tuesday in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.