Nepal beat Namibia; both on cusp of I-Cup & WCLC
Another half-century from captain Paras Khadka propelled Nepal to a three-wicket win over Namibia in Windhoek on Wednesday. The result puts both teams in a tie at the top of the WCL Division Two table at 3-1 with Namibia marginally ahead on net run rate. Khadka teamed with vice-captain Gyandendra Malla for a 58-run third-wicket partnership to put Nepal in control chasing a modest target of 143. Khadka fell for 64 off 56 with Nepal 17 runs off the target and a flurry of wickets fell late but Basant Regmi hit the winning boundary with 12.1 overs to spare.
The relatively easy chase was set up by another solid bowling effort, vindicating Khadka's decision after winning the toss to send Namibia in first. KC Karan and Sompal Kami reduced Namibia to 15 for 3 by the end of the sixth over. Raymond van Schoor provided the most resistance for Namibia with 28 off 80 balls but received little support. Fast bowler Karan backed up his five-wicket haul a day earlier against Canada with solid returns of 3 for 12.
Nitish Kumar notched the tournament's first century in a 111-run win for Canada over Uganda. The first List A century for the 20-year-old came off 106 balls with 10 fours and a six and eclipsed his previous List A best of 67. Kumar was part of two half-century stands with Rizwan Cheema (36) and Ruvindu Gunasekera (30) to give Canada a strong platform after winning the toss and batting. Captain Jimmy Hansra provided a late flourish with 63 not out off 54 balls to boost Canada up to an easily defendable 293 for 6.
Seamer Cecil Pervez ripped through the Uganda top order with three wickets in the first nine overs before Phillimon Selowa countered back with a half-century. Offspinner Nikhil Dutta finally ended Selowa's stay for 70 and burrowed through the rest of the Uganda middle order to finish with 4 for 52. Pervez came back late for one more wicket to finish with 4 for 23 and left-arm spinner Parth Desai finished off the tail as Uganda subsided for 182 in 42 overs.
Netherlands bounced back strongly from a lopsided defeat on Tuesday to Namibia to post a five-wicket win over Kenya. The Dutch kept Kenya to 212 for 9 after winning the toss and opting to field first. Kenya got off to a solid start behind 43 from wicketkeeper Irfan Karim and 48 from Narendra Patel but the innings floundered after Karim's dismissal in the 35th over at 130 for 4. Ahsan Malik helped keep the tail in check and finished with 3 for 27.
Stephan Myburgh aided his side's desperate bid to reduce their overall net run rate deficit with Nepal and Namibia by crashing 95 off 64 balls to open the chase. Captain Peter Borren picked up where Myburgh left off and produced a rapid burst to end unbeaten on 28 off 11 balls as Netherlands reached the target with 19.1 overs to spare to keep their chances of finishing in the top two alive.
All teams have an off day on Thursday before the final day of the group stage on Friday in Windhoek. Nepal and Namibia both control their own destiny for promotion while Kenya and Uganda currently sit in the relegation zone and no longer have any chance at moving up.
A win for Nepal over Kenya and the same for Namibia against Canada would clinch a berth for both teams into the 2015-2017 ICC Intercontinental Cup and World Cricket League Championship. Nepal can still clinch a spot in the top two even with a loss to Kenya if Namibia beats Canada and Uganda beats Netherlands.
To move into the top two, Canada would not only need to beat Namibia but also would have to erase a 1.196 net run rate deficit with their opponent. Canada also trail Nepal by 0.857 on net run rate so a win coupled with a Nepal loss to Kenya and a more manageable overhaul of their deficit with Nepal could see Canada finish in the top two.
Netherlands has a bigger net run rate deficit than Canada to make up on both Nepal and Namibia at 1.250 and 0.911 respectively. However, they face the weakest opponent in the tournament for their last match, Uganda, and have an outside chance of erasing that deficit but would need one of Nepal or Namibia to lose and then leapfrog that losing team plus Canada on net run rate to finish in the top two.