Opener Aasif Sheikh scored a scintillating century for Nepal as they overcame hosts Kenya by seven wickets in their first game of the three-match One-Day Series at the Gymkhana Club Ground in Nairobi on Friday.
Openers Sheikh and Arjun Saud shared 141-run stand for the first wicket as Nepal made 220-3 in 47.3 overs after Kenya, who chose to bat first, were bowled out for 218 runs in 48.1 overs.
Sheikh hit 110 runs in his 120-ball knock that included 12 fences and two sixes. Saud scored 61 runs in his patient knock off 97 balls. He cracked 12 boundaries and a six before being caught by Emmanuel Bundi off Collins Obuya.
Sheikh was bowled by Vishil Patel in the fifth delivery of the 44th over with 198-2 on board. Sheikh also shared a 57-run stand with former captain Gyanendra Malla before his dismissal. Malla scored 50-ball 24 before he was caught and bowled by Rakep Patel.
Dipendra Sing Airee contributed unbeaten 15 including the match winning boundary. He scored a boundary and a six in his 11-ball knock. There was a drama before the winning four as Nepali batters on crease—Airee and Rohit Paudel—and Kenyan players at the pitch thought that the match was over and shook hands with each other and match officiating umpires.
But they again returned to the crease after scorers signalled the score was 216 and Airee hit a boundary in the third delivery of the 48th over.
Regular vice-captain Paudel, who shouldered captain’s responsibility in the absence of skipper Sandeep Lamichhane, was unbeaten on three runs. Lamichhane had left the Nepali team to participate in the Caribbean Premier League from Jamaica Tallawahs after captaining Nepal to a 3-2 win in the five-match Twenty20 International Series against Kenya.
Kenyan bowlers Vishil, Rakep Patel and Collins Obuya claimed a wicket each.
The home team made a shaky start to their innings and were tottering to 49-4 at a moment before Rakep and Obuya shared a 130-run partnership for the fifth wicket to lift the innings. Rakep scored 75-ball 67, the highest of the innings, before he was caught by Paudel in Aadil Alam’s delivery. He struck seven fences and two sixes.
Obuya scored 62 off 118 before being dismissed as run out. He hit three fences and two sixes. Irfa Karim and Sachin Bhudhia were other major contributors for the home team scoring 30 runs and 26 runs, respectively. Karim hit five boundaries and a six in his 41-ball knock before being bowled by Pawan Sarraf. Bhudhia hit a fence and two sixes in his 21-ball knock before he was run out.
Medium pacer duo Sompal Kami and Karan KC grabbed three wickets apiece while Aadil Alam and Saffar picked one each. Kami conceded 29 runs in his 10-over spell and KC gave away 38 runs in his 9.1 overs bowling with three maiden overs.
The second one-day match is scheduled for Saturday.