First WCLC win for Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea have recorded their first World Cricket League Championship win today after beating Nepal in Abu Dhabi.
Nepal captain Paras Khadka won the toss and the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, choosing to bat first. That decision looked to be a mistake when Anil Mandal was trapped lbw by Norman Vanua from the first ball of the match. Opening partner Subash Khakurel fared better, scoring 63 from 104 balls as Nepal crawled to 142 in the 35th over, when he was the fifth man out.
Khakurel had been part of a 56 run partnership for that fifth wicket with Sharad Vesawkar, and the latter went on top score with 78 from 82 balls before he was out in the final over. Other than those two though, there wasn't much to write home about in the Nepal innings as they were restricted to 232-8 from their 50 overs.
Assad Vala was the pick of the Papua New Guinea bowlers with 3-32, and he also ended up as their top run scorer in their run chase. Tony Ura had got the innings off to a quick start with a quick 30 from 26 balls, and whilst PNG did lose 8 wickets and took almost their whole quota of overs, they never really looked like they weren't going to win.
Khadka's captaincy left a little to be desired, with a failure to bring back his leading bowlers just when he looked like getting PNG on the back foot, a repeat of what happened in some WCL Division 2 matches back in January. Shakti Gauchan opened the bowling and went at 2.71 runs per over, but surprisingly bowled just seven overs.
Assad Vala's 87 provided the backbone to Papua New Guinea's run chase as they completed a two wicket win with three balls to spare. The sides will meet again at the same venue on Wednesday.