Pawan Sarraf exhibited all-round performance as Nepal national team defeated Marylebone Cricket Club by five wickets in the 50-over match today at the Tribhuvan International Stadium.
In the opening of batting, the visitors were bowled out for 201 runs in 39.5 overs before the home team rushed to 205-5 with more than 12 overs remaining. Pawan Sarraf and Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi shared eight wickets among them, whereas the former returned to a shared 70-run partnership with Binod Bhandari, who secured an unbeaten half-century, to complete the triumph.
MCC commenced a flying beginning with openers Will Rhodes and Billy Godleman placing up 73 runs inside 11 overs. Both the batsmen achieved their half-centuries. The top score of 54 off 71 balls that comprised five boundaries by Rhodes, while eight fours and two sixes in his 38-ball 52 struck by Godleman struck.
The MCC was leading towards the immense score and was nicely set at 162-2 at the halfway stage before Nepal put back into the game alleging three wickets in the space of five runs. MCC batsmen then failed to create partnerships as they lost eight wickets for 39 runs to be folded for 201. Aside from the openers, Will Vanderspar made vital contributions scoring 36 off 38 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes.
Sarraf returned with 4-31 from eight overs, whereas Rajbanshi claimed 4-40 from 10 overs. Karan KC and Abinash Bohara captured one wicket each. In response, Nepal lost opener Ishan Pandey in the third ball of the innings, caught by Rhodes off Yasir Arafat, while Gyanendra Malla made a forgettable debut as a skipper following he was dismissed for 10 runs.
Malla got the charge of captain following Paras Khadka quit from the post last month. While Khadka was not included in playing set along with star leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.
Sharad Vesawkar and vice-captain Dipendra Singh Airee restored the innings adding 61 runs for the third wicket before Alex Thompson assassinated both of them in the space of two runs to reduce the home side to 81-4. Vesawkar hit four boundaries in his 49-ball 24, where Airee scored 23 off 39 balls hitting two sixes.
Arif Sheikh and Binod Bhandari then scored 54 runs for the fifth wicket and combined with Sarraf to take the team home without notable loss. Sheikh added 23 off 40 balls scoring three fours, while Bhandari continued unbeaten on 52 off 64 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes. Sarraf struck four boundaries and two sixes in his 25-ball 38 not out.
Arafat was the best of the MCC bowlers taking 3-45 from eight overs, while Thompson claimed 2-59 from 10 overs. Bothe the teams will play a three-day match from Wednesday. The three-day match will be Nepal’s first First-Class match in 14 years. Nepal had last played the First-Class match upon the United Arab Emirates on home soil in 2005 during the ICC Intercontinental Cup.
The mixed team of national and U-19 sides will face the MCC in a Twenty20 match on November 9 before the visiting team travels to Pokhara. MCC will play T20 matches against Pokhara Invitational-XI and Chief Minister-XI sides on November 11 and November 12 individually.
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