West Indies ‘A’ lead series 2-1


Kathmandu, May 2: West Indies ‘A’ took a lead in the five-match series after defeating host Nepal by 76 runs in the 3rd T20 on Wednesday. While Nepal won the first T20, the travelling side has bounced back in the last two.

Moreover, the West Indies team defeated Nepal more easily in the 3rd T20 as the experimented squad of Nepal could not put up a challenge as the players did in the first two T20s.

While Nepal chased the target of 205 runs in the 1st T20, Nepal restricted the power-hitting side to 160 runs in the 2nd T20; nevertheless, Nepal felt short of 10 runs while chasing the lower total.

However, the third match was not competitive as the West Indies dominated with the bat as well as the ball to silence thousands of Nepali cricket fans sitting under the scorching sun at TU International Cricket Ground. 

Experimentation with squad

The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) inducted 20 players in the squad against West Indies ‘A’. Of them, Nepal has used 18 players in three matches. 

Only six of the members in the Playing XI of the 1st T20 were playing in the 2nd and 3rd T20s. Meanwhile, only six of the members in the 2nd T20 played in the 3rd. 

Moreover, the 3rd T20 was captained by Dipendra Singh Airee as skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel was rested. Wicketkeeper-batsman Binod Bhandari and pacer Karan KC were used in the squad for the first time in the series.

Sundeep Jora and Aasif Sheikh are the only two players who have not played a single match in the series yet.

However, the experimentation has not worked well for the team as the players are not performing well. On the other hand, West Indies has made only a single change to the squad in every match and benefited from it.

Resting Kadeem Alleyne after the 1st T20, West Indies inducted Hayden Walsh into the squad in the second match. The travelling side rested Oshane Thomas in the 3rd T20 and gave Fabian Allen a chance. While Walsh took three wickets, Allen scored 19 off 9 in the 3rd T20.

Experience shines

West Indies ‘A’ is a second-tier team with a majority of inexperienced and uncapped players. However, alongside skipper Roston Chase, a couple of experienced players have graced the squad and their experience counted on Wednesday.

Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher were the two batsmen who jointly scored 172 runs for the team in the 3rd T20. Charles was a part of the squad that lifted the T20 World Cups in 2012 and 2016 while Fletcher has played over 50 T20Is for the senior squad and participated in cricket leagues across the world: CPL, BPL, PSL and BBL.

Fletcher joined opener Charles after his partner Alick Athanaze (17 off 10) departed in the first ball of the fourth over. Charles and Fletcher then built a quality partnership. 

Registering a century, Charles stayed not out at 119 off only 61 deliveries with seven sixes and 13 fours. Meanwhile, Fletcher (53 off 33) could only register a half-century as he was caught out in the 16th over.  Keemo Paul, with 13 off 7, stayed not out with Charles as West Indies posted 227 runs in the loss of three wickets by the end of 20 overs.

Of the six bowlers used by Nepal, Gulshan Jha was the only one to bowl at an economy of less than 10 runs per over. Likewise, Karan KC and Sagar Dhakal bagged one wicket each. 

Nepal’s batting off-form 

Nepal did not start with regular openers. While opener Binod Bhandari (19 off 15) departed as the first wicket in the fourth over, his partner Lokesh Bam kept protecting his wickets. 

Lokesh was alive until the 11th over before getting bowled out for 28 off 29 as the fourth wicket. When Lokesh departed, Nepal was at 91/4; Anil Kumar Sah (14 off 10) and Aarif Sheikh (3 off 6) had returned to the pavilion by then.

Kushal Malla (20 off 11) raised hopes but he too departed after getting caught near the boundary ropes. Acting captain Dipendra, Gulshan, Bibek Yadav, Kamal Singh Airee and Sagar Dhakal departed in single figures while Karan KC was the joint-highest scorer for Nepal with 28 off 17.

KC was caught out in 19.2 overs as the final wicket of Nepal as West Indies bundled out the host at 151 runs.

How did you feel after reading this news?