‘One-man army’ Karan KC drags Nepal to World Cup League 2 win in Sharjah

Fast bowler guides side through tense run chase as they take two points against Papua New Guinea

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Sandeep Lamichhane termed Karan KC a “one-man army” after the fast bowler guided Nepal through another thrilling run-chase at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Karan hit the second ball of the final over for six as Nepal beat Papua New Guinea by two wickets in the Cricket World Cup League 2 at UAE’s oldest cricket venue.

His 25-ball cameo, which was worth 29 not out, saw his side through the tense game which had appeared lost when he arrived at the wicket.

It was not the first time he has performed such a feat. Among Nepal’s cricket supporters, Valentine’s Day is known as Karan KC Day. That is in recollection of one of the most extraordinary run-chases in cricket history, which he orchestrated against Canada on February 14, 2018.

“That game has always given me a lot of confidence,” Karan said after his side chased the 205 they needed to beat PNG.

“It was one of the main games for Nepal, and every time I am going in to bat and this situation comes, I always remember that day.

“I know my game and I always try to play to my strengths. I believe in myself and more importantly my team believe in me. They give me the positive energy every time. I always try my best, and this happens.”

It was Karan’s first game back after injury ruled him out of the T20 World Cup Qualifier – which ended in heartbreak for Nepal when UAE beat them to qualification – last month.

“It was very painful because I felt I could make a difference for my team at that time, but I was injured,” Karan said.

“It was sad, but I know the fans back in Nepal felt bad. But hopefully in the future I can help the team qualify for the World Cup.”

Coincidentally, Lamichhane was at the wicket when victory was sealed against PNG – just as he had been against Canada in the World Cricket League fixture in 2018.

“As long as KC is there, he is like a one-man army,” said Lamichhane, who was able to toast victory in his first ODI as Nepal’s captain.

“It is a nice start for me as captain, but it is all about teamwork. The guys we have here have amazing talent.”

Nepal’s win means PNG’s search for a first one-day international win in nearly three years continues. They have now gone 18 matches in the format without winning.

Scarcely in that time have they come closer to doing so, and Assad Vala, PNG’s captain, said the Nepal loss was a bitter one to take.

“We came so close again, and it is hard to take these close losses,” Vala said.

“There are some positives, and some areas we need to improve on, especially in the batting. We should have gone on to get an extra 30 or 40 runs.”

Updated: March 16, 2022, 2:20 PM