Ireland Wolves defeat Nepal A in 1st T20

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By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, Mar. 30: Ireland Wolves started the 3 T20 series against Nepal A with a win after defending the mammoth target of 223 runs at the TU International Cricket Ground on Friday.

Failing to capitalize the fastest hundred from Lokesh Bam, second-tier Nepal posted 201/10 in run chase only to lose by 21 runs. 

Electing to field first, Nepal A started well as Kamal Singh Airee, who was making a comeback into the national squad after a year, took a wicket in the second ball of the first over. Ross Adair (2 off 2) departed as the first wicket. 

However, other batsmen scored sufficiently before departing and helped the travelling side cross the 200-run mark with ease. While opener Peter Moor fell short of one run for his half-century as he got bowled by an inside edge, Cade Carmichael (38 off 29), Stephen Doheny (34 off 16) and skipper Neil Rock (38 off 23) scored over 30 runs each.

Gareth Delany (30 off 14) and Gavin Hoey (18 off 6) stayed not out for the Irish side as they posted a total of 222 runs in the loss of five wickets at the end of 20 overs. 

Kamal took three wickets in total while Sagar Dhakal and Aarif Sheikh took one each for the host.

The target was huge; however, Nepal was in the chase until Lokesh Bam and Aarif were at the crease. Wickets started falling consistently after Binod Bhandari departed as the first in the final ball of the sixth over. 

It was only after Aarif entered the crease after the fall of the third wicket and started partnering with opener Lokesh Bam that Nepal took a breath of relief.

While skipper Bhandari departed for 16 off 14, Dev Khanal, in at three, returned to the pavilion for a golden duck. In at four, Arjun Gharti also departed for a paltry 3 off 5.

The travelling side was in trouble after they failed to break the partnership between Lokesh and Aarif. The trouble only intensified as Lokesh was dropped at 68 and Aarif was 

dropped at 28.

Lokesh scored a century, which was the fastest by a Nepali in A-level cricket, while Aarif felt a run short of his half-century. The duo partnered for 100 runs in only 32 deliveries.

When Lokesh departed at 106 off 56 (9 fours, 8 sixes) in the final ball of the 16th over, Nepal was at 189/4.

Soon, Aarif departed leaving Nepal at 194/5 in 17.2 overs. With none of the other batsmen in the lower order scoring in double figures, Nepal lost the match by 21 runs after getting bundled out in 19.3 overs.

“We should have headed towards finishing the match after Lokesh and Aarif partnered for over 100 runs. However, we could not and there is always something to learn from the game. We will be looking forward to the next match,” said skipper Binod in the post-match conference.

Fionn Hand and Matthew Humphreys took three wickets each while Matthew Foster took two. Thomas Mayes and Gavin Hoey also bagged a wicket each for the Irish side.  

Nepal A and Ireland Wolves are playing the 2nd T20 in Kirtipur on Saturday and the 3rd on Sunday.

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