Nepal’s 17-year-old leg-spinner collected match-winning figures of 5/20 in his team’s crucial World Cricket League Division Two encounter against Kenya at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek yesterday. This is now the best return for a Nepalese bowler in all List A cricket. Here is a look at the five best List A figures by Nepalese bowlers.
5/20 by Sandeep Lamichhane v Kenya, Windhoek, 2017-18
Nepal prevailed in a cliffhanger against Kenya, winning by three wickets off the last ball of the game. That Kenya were limited to a modest 177/8 was primarily thanks to a brilliant return of 10-5-20-5 from Lamichhane. After the Kenyan openers had put on 65, Lamichhane provided the much-needed breakthrough by castling Alex Obanda.
Lamichhane then removed Dhiren Gondaria in his next over, further neutralising the openers’ assured start. Later, with Kenya at 104/3, he dismissed captain Rakep Patel and Rushab Patel in successive deliveries before having Nehemiah Odhiambo stumped off the final ball of his spell to complete his deserved five-wicket haul.
Leg-spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane captured 5/20 against Kenya at the WCL Division Two, the best List A return by a Nepalese bowler (source – smh.co.au)
5/26 by Karan KC v Canada, Windhoek, 2014-15
Nepal’s record List A haul prior to Lamichhane’s feat was pace bowler Karan KC’s 5/26 against Canada, incidentally also in a WCL Division Two match at the Wanderers Cricket Ground. Karan began by striking twice in as many balls in his second over, sending Rizwan Cheema and Srimantha Wijeratne back to reduce Canada to 15/3.
Karan proceeded to add two more wickets in his first spell of seven overs, which was instrumental in having Canada tottering at 22/5 in the 12th over. He later came back for his second spell, and took his fifth wicket to make the score 85/8. Nepal eventually faced a target of only 115, which they achieved after losing three wickets.
5/27 by Sompal Kami v United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, 2017-18
Promising fast bowler Sompal Kami gave Nepal a golden opportunity to notch an away win against the United Arab Emirates in their last round match of the 2015-17 WCL Championship. Kami destroyed the Emirati top order, taking the first four wickets to reduce the hosts to a despairing 24/4 in the 14th over.
However, a counterattacking 104 by Adnan Mufti from number seven took the UAE’s total to 195. Mufti was Kami’s fifth victim, the bowler getting him in the final over. Kami’s return went in vain though, as the Nepalese batsmen let him down by succumbing to 132 all out in the 43rd over to give the UAE a 63-run victory.
4/18 by Sandeep Lamichhane v Namibia, Windhoek, 2017-18
The opening round match of the 2018 WCL Division Two, at Affies Park, saw Lamichhane spin a web around the Namibian batsmen. Craig Williams was looking in ominous touch, having scored 41 in 33 balls, when Lamichhane, in his second over, trapped him leg-before to make the score 80/4, thus triggering a meltdown.
Despite a good run rate, Namibia lost a flurry of wickets – they were 81/6 in the 17th over and were ultimately shot out for 138. Lamichanne ended with an analysis of 8-2-18-4, underlining his importance to the side. Nepal crashed to 56/6 in reply, before they huffed and puffed their way to a one-wicket win in the final over.
4/28 by Sharad Vesawkar v Kenya, Kirtipur, 2016-17
Nepal were looking to bounce back after a five-wicket defeat in the first of two WCL Championship matches against Kenya two days earlier. Buoyed by a sizeable and passionate crowd at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground, the Nepalese bowlers combined to bowl Kenya out for 155 in the 47th over.
Kenya were decently placed at 107/3 when part-time off-spinner Sharad Vesawkar accounted for Irfan Karim. This strike brought Nepal back into the contest; Vesawkar taking his last three wickets in four balls to finish with 4/28. Nepal coasted to a seven-wicket win, with Vesawkar adding a rapid 24* to his controlled spell.