Sandeep Lamichhane, the teenage leg-spinner bound for the Indian Premier League, starred as Nepal claimed a thrilling one-wicket win over Namibia in the World Cricket League Division 2.
The 17-year-old spinner, who became the first Nepal cricketer to be recruited to the IPL after Delhi Daredevils signed him at auction, took four wickets as the host nation were bowled out for 138.
Unexpectedly, Lamichhane was also forced to play a key role with the bat. Coming in at No 11, he shared in an 18-run stand for the last wicket with Basant Regmi that hauled Nepal over the winning line with four balls to spare.
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“It was crazy how it turned out,” Paras Khadka, the Nepal captain, said. “The bowlers were fantastic, but batting-wise, we should have done better.
"The wicket wasn’t that easy today, a little up and down, but more application from our batters would have not put us into such a situation.”
Nepal were behind the Duckworth-Lewis rate when play was stopped because of a thunderstorm. The match restarted just before the 5.30pm cut off, to give the Asian side a chance.
The win appeared to be drifting away from them, before Regmi hit a remarkable six over long-off in the penultimate over to revive the chase.
“We still needed eight more after that, but Basant has done this before,” Khadka said. “It is not like it is the first time he has done this with the bat, with no wickets remaining. We just knew Sandeep needed to stay with him.
“He showed very good composure. As a captain, I can’t be any more pleased. Hopefully we can continue this momentum moving forward.”
Canada, who the UAE will face in the second match on Friday, thrashed Oman by eight wickets in the other match on Day 1 of a competition that will decide which two sides advance to the World Cup Qualifier next month.