Visiting Nepal made a winning start in the first of five-match Twenty20 International Series defeating hosts Kenya by five wickets at the Gymkhana Club Ground in Nairobi, Kenya.
Invited to bat first, the home team posted 130-8 before Nepal scored 133 with four balls to spare after Aarif Sheikh hit two successive boundaries in the first two deliveries of the last over.
Chasing the target, Nepal made a shaky start to their innings losing opener Pawan Sarraf for just one run in the second over. Middle order batter Dipendra Singh Airee contributed 33 runs, the highest of the innings, as other batters also made moderate contributions. Airee hit two fences and a six in his 24-ball knock before he was caught by Irfan Karim off Lucas Oluoch in the 19th over.
The other opener Aasif Sheikh contributed 19 runs and shared a 45-run stand for the second wicket with former captain Gyanendra Malla, who had marked a comeback to the national squad almost after one and a half year. Sheikh was bowled by Nehemiah Odhiambo in the first ball of the ninth over.
Malla contributed 23 runs off 30 deliveries that included three fences. Vraj Patel made him caught by Rakep Patel in the 12th over. Rohit Paudel contributed 13 runs facing 14 balls before being bowled by Vraj Patel.
Aarif Sheikh remained unbeaten in his 15-ball 24 that included three fences and a six. Aadil Ansari was not out on two runs.
Kenya bowlers Lucas Oluoch and Vraj Patel pocketed two wickets apiece while Nehemiah Odhiambo picked one wicket. Oluoch conceded 20 runs in his four-over spell while Patel gave away 19 runs in his four-over bowling.
Batting first, the home team’s wicketkeeper-batter Irfar Karim contributed 34 runs, the highest of the innings for Kenya who lost wickets in regular intervals. Coming to bat at number three, Karim hit three fences in his 44-ball knock before he was caught and bowled by captain Sandeep Lamichhane.
Lower middle order batter Lucas Oluoch played an unbeaten blitz of 31 runs off 13 deliveries. He hit five fences and a six in his 13-ball knock to lift the total.
Nelson Odhiambo contributed 19 off 21 before being caught by Sompal Kami off Dipendra Singh Airee. Sachin Bhudai scored 17 runs facing 15 balls. He was caught by Lamichhane in Kami’s delivery.
Player-of-the-match Kami had also bowled out opener Alex Obanda for six runs in the second over. His opening pair Collins Obuya was dismissed in the sixth over for 12 runs as Aadil Ansari made him caught by Gyanendra Malla. Rakep Patel was trapped leg before by Lamichhane for nine runs while lower order batters Shem Ngoche, also the captain, and Nehemiah Odhiambo were both out for a duck.
Kami was the pick of wicket claiming three wickets in his four over spell. He conceded 22 runs. Captain Lamichhane picked two wickets in his four-over bowling conceding 33 runs while Ansari and Dipendra Singh Airee shared a wicket each.
The second match of the Series will be played on Friday.