Sandeep Lamichhane haul leaves just UAE between Nepal and World Cup Qualifier

Hosts thrash Papua New Guinea in Kathmandu to extend run and take them to the brink of progressing to Zimbabwe

Nepal followed up their dominant Cricket World Cup League 2 win over the UAE with an emphatic victory against Papua New Guinea. Photo: Sabas Humagain
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Nepal are one step away from advancing directly to the Cricket World Cup Qualifier after the most crushingly dominant display since a day earlier.

On Sunday, they had thrilled a packed crowd at Tribhuvan University in thrashing UAE by 177 runs in Cricket World Cup League 2.

That win could scarcely have been more comprehensive – but they made a good effort at bettering it as they savaged Papua New Guinea at the same ground a day later.

They required less than 40 overs to wrap up victory. First, Sandeep Lamichhane took five for 25 as PNG were fired out for 95 in 32 overs.

Lalit Rajbanshi, who had himself taken five in the win over UAE, took two more wickets, as well as two catches off Lamichanne’s bowling.

The ensuing run chase was remarkable. Aasif Sheikh hit the fastest one-day international half-century by a Nepal cricketer as they hurried to a nine-wicket win in just 7.4 overs.

Sheikh’s 53 not out came from 21 deliveries, while his opening partner, Khushal Bhurtel, was the one wicket to fall, having made 33 from 14 balls.

Nepal have just one match left as they bid to complete an extraordinary march to the global Qualifier, which will take place in Zimbabwe in June and July.

They have won 10 matches from their past 11 in this competition in recent weeks. One more against UAE on Thursday would take them above Namibia into third place in League 2, and thus qualification.

“We are looking forward to the final game,” Rohit Paudel, the Nepal captain, said. “We have been making good plans before the games, and it has been working well for us. We are lucky, I think.”

Lamichhane was named player of the match for his five-wicket haul.

“I am very emotional at the moment,” said Lamichhane, who is facing charges of rape but has been released from custody on bail.

“I have always wanted to do this again and again for the country.

“It is all because of the contribution of my team and the way they have supported me through the situation I was going through.”

Updated: March 13, 2023, 8:27 AM