Kenya dashes Nepal's chances for WC qualifiers

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Nepal’s chances of qualifying for the ODI World Cup qualifiers to be held next year suffered a huge blow as Kenyan skipper Rakep Patel guided his team to a nervy five-wicket win in a rain-affected ICC World Cricket League match at the Tribhuvan University Cricket Ground on Saturday.

Nepal now languishes at the sixth position with just six points off nine matches, five points behind Scotland which has played just eight matches. Kenya moved to eight points in nine matches. The top four teams in the league qualify for the next year’s qualifiers. Nepal now must win all the remaining five matches—one against Kenya on Monday and two each against Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates—and hope that other results also go in favor.

Nepal scored 112 for the loss of eight wickets in 36 overs in the match reduced to 38-overs a side before rain arrived to break the momentum gathered by Shakti Gauchan (18 off 24) and Sompal Kami (15 off 17).  Kenya was given a revised target of 104 runs from 29 overs under the Duckworth/Lewis method. It reached the target, that was again revised to 94 runs from 26 overs after another rain interruption in the 22nd over.

Skipper Patel remained unbeaten on 34 off 52 balls to guide his team home building an unbeaten sixth-wicket partnership of 27 runs off 32 balls with Gurdeep Singh who made 12 off 19 balls.

Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane had earlier brought Nepal back into the match taking two wickets in two overs after veteran allrounder Colins Obuya (24 off 32), who had starred in Kenya’s journey to semifinals of the World Cup in 2003, and Patel threatened to end the match early by putting on 44 runs for the fourth wicket after Sagar Pun took two wickets off successive balls to reduce Kenya to 21-3 in the seventh over.

Skipper Gyanendra Malla, standing in for Paras Khadka who failed to recover from his appendicitis surgery, earlier gave Nepal a brisk start after Kenya put the host country in to bat. He made 27 off 35 balls with five fours but no other batsman looked fluent apart from the duo of Gauchan and Kami after he fell in the 10th over as the second wicket with the team score of 37 runs.

Dipendra Singh Airee made 19 runs but he consumed 56 balls as wickets kept falling from the other end. Sagar Pun, coming in at the fall of first wicket, was the only other batsman to reach double figure scoring 10 off 23.

Left-arm spinner Shem Ngoche took three wickets and medium pacer Nelson Odhiambo took two wickets for Kenya.

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