Jack Vare leads PNG to second win
Nepal's poor run in the World Cricket League Championship continued today in Abu Dhabi as they lost to Papua New Guinea. They remain the only team without a win in the tournament.
Nepal captain Paras Khadka won the toss and chose to bat first. It wasn't looking good for the team when openers Anil Mandal and Subash Khakurel both trapped lbw for ducks by Norman Vanua in the first over. Gyanendra Malla and Sagar Pun then staged a recovery of sorts, putting on 66 for the third wicket.
That partnership ended when Malla was out for 36, whilst Pun went on to score 47. Paras Khadka and Sharad Vesawkar scored 58 and 42 respectively as Nepal reached 224-8 from their 50 overs. Assad Vallla was the pick of the PNG bowlers with 3-36.
Nepal were then on top of the game in the early part of the Papua New Guinea reply, with Sompal Kami removing each of the top three. The sixth wicket fell in the 26th over with the score on 116. With just the tail to come, Nepal were looking like beating Papua New Guinea for the first time in 50 over cricket.
But with Papua New Guinea on the back foot Nepal captain Paras Khadka - in what is becoming a familiar sight - opted not to bring back his leading bowler into the attack, instead sticking to apparently predetermined bowling changes. It wasn't until the 34th over that the seventh wicket fell, by which time PNG captain Jack Vare was well settled.
Vare and number nine John Reva were able to put on an unbeaten 84 for the eighth wicket to take Papua New Guinea to a three wicket win. They now sit at fifth in the table, whilst Nepal are currently in the wooden spoon position.
Papua New Guinea's tour of the UAE will conclude with an Intercontinental Cup match against Afghanistan at Sharjah that starts on Saturday. Nepal's tour is over, and their next scheduled matches are in this tournament against Namibia during the first half of 2016.
That gives them plenty of time for a post mortem of a tour that saw their only win come against a UAE club side. One of the many questions to be asked must be whether it's time for the six year captaincy career of Paras Khadka to come to an end.