Global Game: Nepal take charge at home for historic series win

By Emerging Cricket

Hit For Six!

Nepal registered a historic win at home with a dominant victory over Netherlands in the tri-nation T20I series final.

A dominant Nepal claimed their first home series victory in over a decade this weekend, as they thrashed the Netherlands in the final of a T20I tri-series hosted at the Tribhuvan University ground in Kathmandu. New opener Kushal Bhurtel led the way for the hosts with 77, his fourth half-century in five starts, and a lower-order blast from Kushal Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee took Nepal to 238/3 – their highest total in T20Is. An asking rate of almost 12 RPO was too much for the Dutch, who crumbled under the pressure for just 96, as Karan KC claimed 3/11 to lead the hosts to a 142-run triumph.

Having started on 17 April, the speedy three-way tournament, also featuring Malaysia, squeezed in a six-match double round robin before the final, and Nepal’s new coach Dav Whatmore used the opportunity to tune up an exciting young squad ahead of a busy year for Associate cricket. 

The two finalists traded victories in the group stage, with a rusty-looking performance from the tourists in the first match of the tournament seeing them post just 136/4; Nepali debutants Bhurtel and Asif Sheikh both notched fifties at the top of the order as the hosts cruised to a nine-wicket victory in 15 overs. The second match was a classic, with Bhurtel reaching his third consecutive half-century – becoming the only player to do so in his first three T20I matches – as Nepal posted 206/6. But Bas de Leede’s magnificent 81* off 42 carried the Netherlands to their highest ever run chase in the last over.

Malaysia meanwhile, despite being ranked significantly below the other two participants at 32nd in the world, were far from just making up the numbers. They struggled against Nepal, but pushed the Dutch in their first group meeting, with Virandeep Singh’s classy 87 carrying them within 15 runs in pursuit of the Netherlands’ 191/2, then grabbed a tie in their second clash. Time constraints at the ground meant there was no super over, but Malaysia were ahead in most of the DLS-adjusted chase before Dutch seamer Viv Kingma nailed his yorkers to protect 6 runs in the last over. It was a spirited display from a team that has long languished in the lower rungs of ICC competition, but Malaysia showed enough quality across the tournament that they will be disappointed to remain winless. 

 Naruemol Chaiwai named new captain of Thailand Women

The Cricket Association of Thailand appointed Naruemol Chaiwai as the new captain of Thailand Women in all formats, replacing Sornnarin Tippoch, who will continue playing in the side as an all-rounder. Wicketkeeper-batter Nannapat Khoncharoenkai has been named as the vice-captain of the side, replacing Nattaya Boochatham.

Tippoch led her side for the first time in 2007, and she remained at the helm for one of the longest periods in Associate cricket.

"I am extremely humbled to be given the opportunity to captain the Thailand national team. I consider myself very lucky to be given this opportunity and I proudly accept this responsibility and its challenges with great pride," Chaiwai said in a statement.

"There is a great mood and momentum the camp and I personally feel everyone in the team is in a good place mentally and physically, our goals are well defined, and we share a common vision to excel," she added. "With a smile in my heart, I believe exciting times are surely guaranteed in the future!" 

Namibia claim bragging rights in Southern African derby

There was also some high-scoring T20 action in Southern Africa over the weekend, as Namibia continued their good form at home with a 2-1 series victory over an Emerging South Africa side. Featuring numerous former U19s players, the Emerging team hit the ground running with a win over their neighbours in the first match on Friday. 

After being sent in to bat, Namibia posted 167/5 from their allotment, with a late flurry from Jan-Nicol Loftie-Eaton (37 off 20) making up for Craig Williams’ uncharacteristically sluggish 56 (54). The tourists, despite ultimately winning with more than an over to spare, were behind the run rate for most of their chase, with tidy spells from Bernard Scholtz (0/21) and Ruben Trumpelmann (2/22) keeping the pressure on. But Jason Smith (48* off 26) and Delano Potgieter (26* off 10) cut loose in the home straight, with Smith especially savage on Tangeni Lungameni’s penultimate over as he plundered 21 runs off 4 legitimate deliveries to seal the victory.

The second match saw a remarkable comeback from the hosts, after a wayward bowling performance conceded 190/4 in 20 overs sent down by 8 different bowlers. Jonathan Bird led the way for the South Africans, as he thumped an unbeaten 74 from 37 balls. Namibia’s response was wobbling early, after incisive spells from Tshepo Ntuli and Delano Potgieter had them 36/3 after 6 overs. After that though, it was the JJ Smit show, with the Namibian allrounder blasting 10 sixes on his way to 103* (45) as he peppered the midwicket and straight boundaries. Jan Frylinck iced the chase by clipping a boundary through midwicket on the last ball of the innings.

Sunday’s decider was the most dominant performance so far from Namibia, as they racked up 230/6 through a collective effort where every batter passed double figures and hit at least one six. Zane Green top scored with 63 off 38, a welcome return to form after he missed the T20I series against Uganda, and JJ Smit continued his brutal run from the day before with 37 off 15 to give the run rate a final boost. The South African chase never really got going, with early wickets to Jan Frylinck (2/11) and Michael van Lingen (2/6) derailing the innings and putting an already-challenging asking rate beyond reach. Young offspinner Mauritius Ngupita (2/27) and legspinner Loftie-Eaton (2/8) also both claimed a brace of wickets as Namibia finished off the tourists for 139 in the 17th over to claim a resounding 91-run victory.

The two teams have a rest day on Monday before moving to the 50-over leg of the tour.

Global Game is a collaboration between the ICC and Emerging Cricket.

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