Nepal registers second win in SMS Friendship Cup defeating Baroda

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By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, Apr. 3: Defeating Baorda by 27 runs on Tuesday, Nepal registered two wins in two matches at the SMS Friendship Cup in Vapi, Gujarat.

Nepal defeated Gujarat by eight wickets in the tournament’s opener on April 1 and faced Baroda on Tuesday. Meanwhile, it was the second loss in the campaign for Baroda as the team lost to Gujarat on Monday.

After two wins, Nepal sits at the top of the table followed by Gujarat, which has one win in two matches. Baroda is at the bottom with two losses in two matches. 

The top two teams in the table after playing two matches each against the other qualify for the final on April 7. Nepal will face Gujarat and Baroda for the second confrontation on April 3 and 5 respectively. Similarly, Gujarat and Baroda will play their second match on April 4.

Nepal’s low target

On Day 3, Nepal’s target to Baroda was the highest of the tournament so far. However, it was not as high as the Rhino Army would have expected.

Batting first after Baroda elected to field first, Nepal posted 156 runs on the board in the loss of six wickets. 

While Gujarat posted a target of 99 runs against Nepal on April 1, Baroda gave a target of 143 to Gujarat in the second match of the tournament. 

Nepal lost the two openers in single figures mounting pressure on the new batsmen. Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh departed adding nine runs each.

Anil Kumar Sah and skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel partnered for a while; but Rohit (18 off 13) getting run out was a huge blow for the team. 

Moreover, Anil and Gulshan Kumar Jha too joined Rohit soon after scoring 25 off 27 and 13 off 14 respectively.

Consecutive wickets were troublesome for Nepal until Sundeep Jora and Kushal Malla built a decent partnership. The duo’s partnership started after Nepal lost its fifth wicket at 82 runs.

Sundeep departed after scoring 29 runs off only 16 deliveries and Malla stayed not out at 40 off 25 with Dipendra Singh Airee (5 off 5) to take the team to a decent total of 156/5.

Baba Khan bagged two wickets while Mohit Mongia and Parikshit Patidar took one each against Nepal.

Defending 157

Nepal needed to bundle out Baroda as soon as it could as the target was not easily defendable. Karan KC gave Nepal the required start as Kinit Patel was caught in the slip by Anil Kumar Sah in the very second ball of the chase. 

Until the fifth over, Baroda lost five wickets with only 22 runs on the board. However, after it, Nepal struggled to take more wickets. The sixth-wicket partnership between skipper Vishnu Solanki and Bhanu Pania was the hardest to break.

Thanks to a brilliant catch by Sundeep Jora in the boundary line in 13.1 overs that broke the partnership by sending Vishnu (25 off 31) back to the pavilion. 

The wicket of Bhanu (38 off 26) in the first ball of the 16th over by Abinash Bohara then brought Nepal back to the match. Bhanu was caught behind as the eighth wicket while trying to uppercut the ball towards the off-side. Baroda was then at 90/8.

Baba Khan then hit big boundaries to take the team over the 100-run mark. 

Since the team required a miracle to win the match, Baba continued hitting more and more. However, he got out as the final wicket for Baroda in the final ball of the 20th over after taking the team to 129 runs. Baba scored 27 off 18 before getting struck leg-before.

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