By Pramod Joshi , Kathmandu, Apr. 25 : Nepal posted their record-breaking total, registered their biggest win by run margin and claimed their maiden T20 International Series title inflicting the Netherlands their biggest loss of 142-run at TU Cricket Ground, Kirtipur on Saturday.
Nepali batsmen and bowlers were in their ominous best as they dominated the Netherlands for their empathic victory in the final of the Tri-Nation Twenty20 International Series, which also turn out to be the first trophy Nepal claimed after 11 years at home soil.
Put to bat first, Nepal hammered their biggest T20I score 238/3, courtesy to explosive battings from Kushal Bhurtel, Kushal Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee. Nepali bowlers ripped through the Dutch batting to bundle them for 96 in 17.2 overs.
After claiming the first tile as a Captain Malla said the trophy is icing on the cake as all of the players did their best in teamwork. "We made a positive start in the series. Moreover, we focused to perform the positive game and we succeed to do that. The young players responding positively is a good part of Nepali cricket's future," he said.
Karan KC had three wickets haul whereas Kamal Airee and Sandeep Lamichhane picked two wickets each to help Nepal surpass the 141-run victory recorded against Bhutan. Nepal also bettered the 236 runs scored against Bhutan during the 13th South Asian Games in 2019.
After losing their first wicket of Tobias Visse in a run out in 1.5, the Netherlands were never in the run chase as their batsmen returned to the hut in frequent interval.
Sebastian Braat remained not out to top score with 27-ball 26 for the visitors. Max O'Dowd (19-ball 20) and Skipper Pieter Seelar (12-ball 12) were the batsmen to chip in with double-figure for the Dutch.
Man of the match Pacer KC conceded 11 runs and dismissed three batsmen to make his T20I wicket tally to 44. Leggie Lamichhane took his T20I wicket tally to 47 after picking two for 26. Airee gave away 22 runs to scalp two wickets. Abinash Bohara also joined the list with one wicket.
Dutch Captain Seelar said dropping Bhurtel in third over was the turning point of the game. "From there on nothing gone on our way and Nepal came all guns blazing and 239 run chase is always difficult." Earlier the onus was on the Man of the Series Bhurtel to lead Nepal to the commanding position of 163/ 3 from 87/2 with his flamboyant knock of 53-ball 77.
Stylish Bhurtel achieved his fourth half-century from 38 deliveries whacking Phillips Boissevain (2-43) to the six over the deep mid-wicket fence. He went rampant after that stealing boundaries and maximums all over the ground before being caught by Seelaar off Brat in 15.4.
Bhurtel shared 30 runs with Aasif Sheikh (8-ball 16) before the latter perished in an attempted big shot to Boissevain in the third over. His batting included two sixes and one boundary.
He then paired with Captain Malla (19-ball 33) to add 57 runs for the second wicket. Skipper Malla slammed two maximums and three fours and holed out to Seelar at cover after getting the top edge to Boissevain in 9.3 over.
Bhurtel made most of the profligate bowling of the Netherlands as he collaborated for a 76-run stand for the third wicket with Kushal Malla.
Left-hander Malla joined by Dipendra Singh Airee had their sinewy wrists on play going bonkers against the Dutch bowlers adding 75-run for the fourth wicket. Malla scored his first T20I fifty off 24 balls smashing five towering sixes and two boundaries remaining not out.
Right-hand batsman Airee, from the other end, were two runs short of his fifty to remain unbeaten at the crease with his 18-ball 48 firework. Airee clubbed three balls for the maximums and five balls for the boundaries. He clubbed Kingma for four to steer Nepal to their biggest total.
Though the spectators were restricted from entering the ground due to COVID 19, hundreds of fans were there to support from behind the wall of the cricket ground. After the match, players from both teams circumnavigated the ground to honour the support of cricket fans.