Asked to bat first, Nepal benefitted from good hands from Khadka, Gyanendra Malla and Sagar Pun to reach 217 for 9 from its 50 overs, the total being kept down largely because of Michael Rippon’s returns of 4 for 35.
In response, the Netherlands stuttered to 21 for 3 with Khadka, the Nepal skipper, picking up a couple of wickets, before the middle order stepped up to the task. Nepal, however, picked up wickets at crucial junctures to ensure the run chase wouldn’t press on before bowling the home side out for 198 in 48.3 overs.
Following the loss, the Netherlands got to 12 points from eight matches, giving it the No. 1 spot on the eight-team table, while Nepal was on sixth position with six points from eight games. With Scotland left to face United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to complete its eight-game quota, and four other teams left with two games each, the positions on the table can vary by the time the tournament comes to a close in November.
Nepal, which suffered a nine-wicket loss at the hands of the Netherlands a couple of days ago, came into the tie with intent, exemplified by its captain. Early in the innings, the possibility of its batting unit coming short was very much a threat as it lost three wickets for 65 runs despite Malla’s 52-ball 39, but a stirring 118-run stand between Khadka and Pun ensured it had runs for its bowlers to bowl with.
Khadka’s dismissal for 84 from 94 balls, with seven fours and a six, and the fall of Pun (45 in 78 balls) within seven runs of each other didn’t help Nepal’s cause, and its lower order fizzled away as Rippon and Ahsan Malik (2-34) kept their calm.
In its reply, by losing three early wickets, the Netherlands would have felt the pressure, but the experienced Roelof van der Merwe and young Max O’Dowd brought it back into the game.
Van der Merwe made a hard-hitting 56 from 61 and O’Dowd contributed with 35 scored over 95 deliveries, but it was Tim Gruijters’s 60-ball 44 that truly made it a nail-biting affair. Aided by Tim van der Gugten’s 30-ball 36, Gruijters took the Netherlands towards the target.
But Gruijters’s dismissal to Basant Regmi in the 48th over with the Netherlands needing 25 runs from 16 balls meant the host would need a nerveless display from the tail. Unfortunately, that never came.
Nepal has Sompal Kami, Khadka and Regmi to thank for restricting the Netherlands as each of the three bowlers bagged two wickets and gave away less than five runs per over.
For full scorecard of the match, click here.