1st ODI Nepal v Canada: Five Notes

Rohit Paudel vs Canada 1st ODI

1st ODI Nepal v Canada: Five Notes

Nepal defeated Canada by seven runs in the first ODI encounter of the three-match series. Canada seemed to be heading home for most of the chase but Nepal almost miraculously came on top in a remarkable turnaround. Here are five notes from the first encounter of the two teams at the TU International Cricket Ground held on Thursday.

 

  •  Kushal Bhurtel: Nepal’s ‘Master Blaster’?

Kushal Bhurtel top-scored for Nepal with a blazing 62 of 58 balls. Starting with a boundary from the first ball of the innings, Bhurtel smashed 9 fours and a six while striking at over 100 for most of his innings.

While his dismissal came when he was well set for big innings, Bhurtel’s attacking start provided the foundation for the middle-order batters. Although he has not been consistent in his ODI career so far, allowing Bhurtel to play attacking strokes and the rest of the batters building up steadily could be the blueprint for the Nepali batting lineup. In an era where the top-order batters of every team look to take the game to the opposition, Bhurtel could be that ‘X-factor’ in Nepal’s batting order. 

 

  • Kirtipur ground: Nepal’s fort?

 It’s been 451 days and 13 games since the last time Nepal was defeated in an ODI match at Kirtipur. Nepal has found a way to outsmart the opposition in the home conditions during this streak and can leverage the knowledge of the playing conditions. The passionate and vocal home crowd support remains a major boost. The team seems to be enjoying playing in front of the home fans. When on song, Nepal seems capable of going toe-to-toe against any team in the world in home conditions. The cardiac kids did it again by defeating Canada by 7 runs in yet another close encounter.

 

  • Bhim Sharki

After the conclusion of his innings against Canada, Bhim Sharki’s ODI stats reads as : 

 19 Matches (17 innings), 476 runs, 32 average and a strike rate of 67. Judging by the numbers, Bhim hasn’t had an easy start to his ODI career, The most of the matches were must-win to save ODI status or qualify for the world or Asia events. And yet he has done enough to deserve all the chances.

Long touted as the batter to solve Nepal’s middle-order woes, Bhim has not found his footing in international cricket. He also had a dismal individual campaign in the recently concluded PM Cup, averaging just 17 in 10 matches. Shuffling the batting lineup now and then has not been helping him either. It is about time that Bhim finds his rhythm and creates a spot in middle order for himself. 

 

  • Middle-order conundrum

Bhurtel’s dismissal caused a ‘mini-collapse’ in Nepal’s batting innings. Bhim Sharki, Kushal Malla, Pawan Sarraf, and Aarif Sheikh, all got the start but failed to stay at the crease for a substantial time. It has been 12 innings since Rohit Paudel last scored a half-century in ODI cricket and Gulshan Jha had a below-par U-19 World Cup with the bat. Nepal’s batting order does not have a proven blueprint to approach the middle overs. Infamous for retreating to the shell when going gets tough, a wicket of the top-order batter triggers a batting collapse more often than not for Nepal. The repetition of this pattern in ODI cricket has been a worrying sign for Nepal. Another problem lies in batters’ inability to convert a start into a meaningful score. Nepal seems to be suffering from the lack of reliable anchors and batters who can shift gears as the game goes on.

 

  • Rohit Paudel: Right Arm Wizardry

At 19.3 overs of Canadian run chase, everything seemed going as per the plan for the Maple Leafers. With the score at 114-2 and two well-set batters in Pargat Singh and Nicholas Kirton in the middle, Canada seemed to be heading home. It was not Sompal or Lalit or any other designated bowler who answered Nepal’s prayers.

Captain Rohit Paudel stepped up and bamboozled Canadian batters. Rohit removed dangerous Pargat Singh and proceeded to take 3 more crucial wickets, finishing with an outstanding figure of 8.5-2-22-4 in a player-of-the-match performance. 

 

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