Anil, Bhim guide Nepal to clean sweep victory over Canada with record tons

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By Pramod Joshi,Kathmandu, Feb. 13: Having already won the Bilateral Series with two consecutive wins against Canada, Nepal was playing the third match for a clean sweep in Kathmandu on Monday. A maiden century each from Opener Anil Sah and Number three batter Bhim Sarki made it possible as Nepal notched up a nine-wicket victory over Canada. On a day when Anil and Bhim put on a record partnership with two centuries in the same innings, Nepal achieved its first historic clean sweep on home soil. Nepal claimed the first match by seven runs and the second match by seven wickets. 

Earlier, Nepal had not won all the matches in the two bilateral series held at home grounds. Earlier Nepal lost to Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 2-0 and won the series against the United Arab Emirates 2-1 held in 2022. 

With the series whitewash, Nepal also sends a message to the upcoming ICC World Cup Cricket League 2 triangular series set to start on February 15 in Kathmandu. 

Put on to bat first at TU Cricket Ground, Canada posted a medium score of 232 runs losing eight wickets in 50 overs.

Nepal rode on the record partnership from Anil and Bhim to easily chase the victory with 234 runs with 33 balls to spare.

Record partnership

After Nepal lost the first wicket of Kushal Bhurtel (13 runs off 14 balls) in the 4.5 overs, it was all about Anil and Bhim. They went on to put up the most substantial partnership for any wicket for Nepal in the ODI, scoring 189 runs. It was also a record partnership for the second wicket for Nepal. 

They surpassed the previous records set by Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh during the first-wicket partnership against Zimbabwe (179 runs) and Gyanendra Malla and Aasif Sheikh during the second-wicket partnership against Namibia (139 runs).

Anil, the top scorer in the men's PM Cup, made his comeback to the national squad after 2022 in style. He scored a maiden century and two consecutive half-centuries, which would surely make him a strong contender during team selection. He smashed his first ODI fifty on Saturday and bettered it today by scoring his first ODI hundred off 116 balls. He remained unbeaten with 112 runs off 124 balls, which included 12 boundaries and two sixes. Anil smashed Uday Bhagwan for a six to seal the match for Nepal in 44.3 overs.

Bhim also reached his first hundred-run milestone off 129 balls. He smacked 11 fours and one six in his knock of 101 runs off 129 balls. 

It is also the first time that two Nepali batters have scored a hundred in one ODI match, making it a historic moment for Nepal. This match also saw Nepal's seventh and eighth centuries in ODIs.

Nepal started their batting with an additional five runs, which they received as a penalty after Canada's captain, Saad Bin Zafar, walked on the pitch twice. Dillon Heyliger was the only wicket-taker for Canada.

Debutant Hemant shines 

A debutant Hemant Dhami took three wickets, limiting Canada to a moderate score after Nepal won the toss and chose to field first.

Hemant, a medium pacer, took his first wicket in the second over of his spell by making Aaron Johnson (4) catch out by Dev Khanal at third. 

However, Navneet Dhaliwal (50) and Srimantha Wijeyeratne (22) managed to put up a fight with a partnership of 48 runs for the second wicket.

Aakash Chand broke the partnership by chipping Srimantha to the hand of captain Rohit Paudel in the 14th over. 

Nicholas Kirton (3) returned to the dugout as the third wicket in 18.1 overs after trying to hit Kushal Malla for big. 

Opener Navneet kept the run ticking for the tourists as he completed his half-century off 81 balls. His patience batting, however, came to an end on the next ball as his shot to Lalit Rajbanshi went straight into the hand of Aakash Chand at long off in the 27th over.

Harsh Thaker (29) put on a 31-run partnership with Nikhil Dutta for the fifth wicket. After Kushal trapped Harsh lbw, Nikhil paired with Shreyas Movva (25) to add 54 runs for the sixth wicket. 

Debutant Hemant came in a rescue for the home making Shreyas catch out by Kushal Bhurtel in the 45.4 overs.  

Nikhil steered Canada past a double hundred but was run out in the 47.5 overs with 213/7 on the scoreboard. He clubbed one six and two fours in his knock of 62-ball 45. Captain Saad took charge of the remaining overs adding not out 31 runs that included two maximums and three fours. 

In-between, Hemant bagged his third wicket making Dillon (4) caught by Aarif Sheikh at deep point in the 48.3 overs.  

Nepal’s pick of the bowler Hemant conceded 49 runs from his eight-over spell. Kushal finished with 2-38 while Lalit and Aakash dismissed one batter each.

Nepal made changes in the playing eleven by resting Surya Tamang, Rijan Dhakal, Sompal Kami and Aasif Sheikh. Aarif Sheikh, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi, Kushal Bhurtel, and Hemant Dhami were included in the team today.

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