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Vare steers PNG to last-over victory

Nepal defends modest total with zeal but eventually succumbs to fourth loss, by three wickets

Vare steers PNG to last-over victory - Cricket News
This was PNG’s second successful final-over chase against Nepal in three days
Jack Vare's unbeaten half-century steered Papua New Guinea to a three-wicket win over Nepal in their ICC World Cricket League Championship match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (November 18).
 
This was PNG’s second successful final-over chase against Nepal in three days. It had stormed to its first win of the tournament on Monday, beating Nepal by two wickets at the same venue.
 
Batting first, Nepal rode on a half-century from Paras Khadka, the captain, and handy contributions from Sagar Pun (47) and Sharad Vesawkar (42), to post 224 for 8. PNG’s reply started decently, and although it kept losing wickets, Vare’s gritty unbeaten 90-ball 76 kept it in the hunt. Vare put on an unbroken 84-run eighth-wicket stand John Reva (31) to take PNG across the line with two balls to spare.
 
Nepal’s innings got off to a poor start as Anil Mandal was trapped in front by Norman Vanua, the medium pacer, off the third delivery of the innings. A second wicket followed soon when Vanua dismissed Subash Khakurel, the other opener, in similar manner, before Pun and Gyanendra Malla put on 65 for the third wicket to steady the innings.
 
The stand was broken when Malla fell to Sese Bau’s medium pace for 36. Pun then added 51 for the fourth wicket before becoming Bau’s second victim. Khadka (58) found some support when Vesawkar came to the middle, and the duo added 60 runs for the fifth wicket.
 
However, Assad Vala accounted for Khadka in the 44th over, and thereafter, Vesawkar led a solo effort by taking Nepal to 200, before falling to Vala. Mahaboob Alam’s cameo (15 off seven balls) then took Nepal to the modest total.
 
PNG lost Lega Siaka early in its chase, but Tony Ura (24) and Vala (18) put on 42 runs for the second wicket to provide a decent platform. However, Sompal Kami, the right-arm pacer, struck twice to remove both the well-set batsmen. Thereafter, the Nepal bowlers chipped away regularly, and the PNG batsmen found it tough to stitch together a substantial partnership.
 
But Vare, coming in at No. 7, provided some stability, as he put on 15 and 25 for the sixth and seventh wickets respectively with Charles Amini (16) and Hiri Hiri (6). However, it was not until the arrival of Reva that he found able support.
 
The two shared an unbeaten 84-run stand for the eighth wicket, scoring at over five runs an over. The association formalised PNG’s win as they took the side from 141 for 7 to the target of 225 in 49.4 overs.
 
With this win, PNG – with four points from as many matches -- shot up two places to be fifth on the points table, while Nepal is yet to get off the mark, having lost all its four matches so far.

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