It’s not often you score 30 in a single over on your way to a century and finish on the losing side, but that’s exactly what happened to Kenya’s Rakep Patel today as his team again failed to defend a big total, this time against Nepal.
Nepal won the toss and chose to put the Kenyans into bat, and it initially looked to be the perfect decision as Kenya collapsed to 32-4 inside the seventh over. But Nepal reckoned without a huge partnership between Maurice Ouma and Rakep Patel.
The pair put on 131 for the fifth wicket with Patel in particular taking a liking to the Nepalese bowlers. At one point he scored 30 runs in one over on his way to 103 before he was bowled by Paras Khadka from the last ball of the 18th over.
Kenya then scored 13 from their last two overs to take their total to 182-7 from their 20 overs, setting a formidable target for the often fragile Nepal batting line-up.
But that past fragility was nowhere to be seen today, as they recovered from losing Pradeep Airee in the second over to put on a second wicket partnership of 77 between Subash Khakurel and Gayanendra Malla.
Malla was out in the 11th over for 32, with Nepal still just behind the required run rate. But they continued to build, with Khakurel taking the total to 128 alongside his captain Paras Khadka before he was third out having scored 54.
Khadka then took over the run scoring, taking his total to 54 from 31 balls after 19 overs. Nepal needed 17 runs from the last over, but it was Sharad Vesawkar on strike and not Nepal’s best batsman Khadka. Not even the most passionate Nepal fan could have predicted what would happen next.
Former Sussex player Ragheb Aga bowled the final over, and Vesawkar held his cool and hit the first ball for two six. Two runs were taken from the second ball before Vesawkar again dispatched the next two balls over the boundary to secure the six wicket win for his team.
Whilst Kenya may be a team in decline, this win, given the context of chasing a high total, is likely to go down as Nepal’s best win in their international history so far. They’ll have time to reflect on it on their day off tomorrow before playing Scotland on Monday. Kenya also have a day off tomorrow, and they’ll hope to pick up their first win against Denmark on Monday.