Scotland continued their impressive start to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, with a captain's knock from Kyle Coetzer overcoming a spirited effort in the field from Nepal.
Scotland made it three wins from three in Group B and guaranteed their spot in the Super Sixes after an impressive all-round bowling display and unbeaten 88 from captain Kyle Coetzer inspired a four-wicket victory over Nepal, who are still waiting for their first win the tournament.
At 71/1 in pursuit of Nepal's 149 all out, Scotland appeared to be cruising. But a mini-collapse of five wickets for 51 runs ensured an exciting finish at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, with Coetzer emerging the hero.
The Scots made an electric start to the match after Nepal's captain Paras Khadka won the toss and elected to field first under bright skies, taking four wickets inside the first five overs with just 14 runs on the board.
Safyaan Sharif struck with his first ball of the morning, cleaning up Gyanendra Malla for 1, before Stuart Whittingham (3/35) got in on the act, trapping Dilip Nath lbw for 1 and then accounting for Dipendra Singh Airee (1) and Sharad Vesawkar (0) with the first two deliveries of his third over.
When Aarif Sheikh edged behind to Matthew Cross off the bowling of Richie Berrington, Nepal found themselves 39/5, staring down the barrel at a humiliating total. It was left to Khadka to restore some respectability with a measured 75-ball 63, becoming the first Nepali batsman to pass 1,000 List A runs in the process.
Khadka found an able ally in Sompal Kami (18), and the duo put on 42 for the sixth wicket before a superb collect and throw from Berrington ended the latter's innings. Nepal's captain was next to go, undone by the off-spin of Tom Sole for 63 with the scoreboard reading 100/7.
Basant Regmi (24* from 51) showed some spirited resistance from No.9 but Alasdair Evans (2/24) wrapped up Nepal's innings in 46.3 overs, leaving Scotland chasing 150 for victory.
Coetzer and Cross made a sedate start in reply, reaching 33 in the 10th over before the young leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane made the breakthrough with his third delivery. A clever piece of bowling found Cross' edge, with Khadka doing the rest at slip.
Calum MacLeod, bursting with confidence after his match-winning century against Afghanistan in Scotland's first match of the tournament, looked composed on his way to 15 from 22 balls but was bowled by Regmi with the score on 72 to spark a collapse, as Berrington – lbw to the impressive Lamichhane (2/31) – and George Munsey – bowled by Lalit Rajbanshi – fell in quick succession.
In partnership with Coetzer, Craig Wallace (17) was inching Scotland to victory but he fell in Dependra Singh Airee's first over, caught behind by Dilip Nath, and soon after Regmi found Mark Watt's edge as Nepal ramped up the pressure.
The Scots required 28 more runs for victory with four wickets remaining and needed to hold their nerve. Thankfully for them their experienced captain was still at the crease, and Coetzer judged the situation perfectly, taking any singles that were on offer while continuing to hit anything loose to the boundary.
The 33-year-old finished the job in style, hitting Airee for six to complete the victory with 8.3 overs to spare.
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