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It was a dream come true to Nepalese fans to see their team play its first ODI on home soil. Although the result didn't turn out in their favor, the fans of Nepal Cricket team went home happy. Nepal put up a brilliant fight against Oman but were left just a few runs short. They'll be up against USA in their next game and will be be looking to make a mark in ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League. Considering that USA have been the top team in the league, it is expected to be another challenging fixture for Nepal, but considering how well they have done in recent times, USA would not want to take Nepal lightly. Nepal are playing at home - in familiar conditons and with the home support and that could be of remarkable advantage. The two teams will lock horns at Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground, Kirtipur, on 8th February, and a hard-fought match is certainly on the cards.
In their first ODI ever at home, Nepal started in a terrific manner as their bowlers got rid of most of Oman's hard-hitting batsmen. Karan KC and Sushan Bhari were impressive upfront as Nepal reduced Oman to 57 for 5 and took control of the game. However, they lack penetration thereafter and failed to pick wickets in middle-overs. Thanks to a brilliant partnership between Mohammad Nadeem and Sandeep Goud, Oman were able to resurrect their innings.
Despite taking five wickets inside the first twenty overs, it was surprising to see that Nepal failed to take ten wickets. Oman ended up with 197 runs on the board, the total that proved a bit too hot to handle for the Nepalese men on Kirtipur's slow and slow surface.
In reply, skipper Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla were dismissed cheaply and Nepal were toterring with two down for just four runs on the board. Sharad Vesawkar and Dipendra Singh Aireee brought them back into the game and just when it looked that Nepal will overhaul the total with considerable ease, they lost Airee, Aarif Sheikh, and RK Paudel in quick succession. Binod Bhandari and Versawkar brought them back, but with no support from lower-order and required run-rate climbing up with every passing over, Nepal lost too many wickets too quickly at the end. Nepal were eventually dismissed completely for a total of 179 runs, 18 runs short of Oman's total.
B Bhandari, Subash Khakurel, Gyanendra Malla, Aarif Sheikh, Paras Khadka, Dipendra Singh Airee, Kushal Malla, Sandeep Lamichhane, Karan KC, Sushan Bhari, Abinash Bohara.
Quite surprisingly, United States of America are currently leading the league table with six wins from nine matches. They have been the best side in the league and the numbers reflect that. They, however, were defeated by Oman in their most recent encounter and getting back to the winning ways in conditions that are alien to them is going to be a challenge.
Against Oman, in their first match of the series, USA's batsmen struggled to get going on a surface that was a lot different to the ones the USA have played in the recent times. Xavier Marshall, Steven Taylor, and Aaron Jones were all dismissed cheaply and USA found themselves in trouble with four down for 54.
Akshay Homraj and Ian Holland them played beautifully as the duo got together and added 82 runs for the fifth wickets. There was not much support thereafter from any batsmen as USA kept losing wickets at regular intervals. They were restricted to a total of 213 runs with Ian Holland top scoring for them. Holland scored 65 off 78 deliveries and was ably supported by Homraj who scored 44 off 53. There wasn't much their bowlers could do as Oman sealed the deal with six wickets in hand.
Saurabh Netravalkar, SR Taylor, Karima Gore, Ian Holland, Akshay Homraj, Elmore Hutchinson, Aaron Jones, Xavier Marshall, Monank Patel, Rusty Theron, Cameron Stevenson.
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Although Nepal lost their first encounter of the series, there will be no passion lost among the fans. Their second home ODI is expected to be sold-out as well and a terrific contest is certainly on the cards. Nepal have done well recently and the fact that USA aren't familiar to playing in these conditions is going to help Nepalese. Having said that, USA have been in terrific form and have match-winners available right through their batting order. They are a better team on paper and are, therefore, betting on USA's win will be the way to go in the upcoming encounter.
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