x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Binod Bhandari’s Nepal up there with the best in World Twenty20 Qualifier

Classy shot by batsman in win over Papua New Guinea at World Twenty20 Qualifier symbolic of how good Nepal have become, writes Paul Radley.

Nepal have been excellent in the World Twenty20 Qualifier so far. Sarah Dea / The National
Nepal have been excellent in the World Twenty20 Qualifier so far. Sarah Dea / The National

SHARJAH // The ICC is not giving away a prize for shot of the tournament at this qualifier.

If they did, though, Binod Bhandari would already have the trophy packed away, ready for the flight back to Kathmandu.

If there is a better shot played anywhere than the “Dilscoop” the Nepal batsman hit for six in the final stage of the run-chase against Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, it deserves to get at least a million hits on YouTube.

He set aside personal safety to ramp a delivery by Willie Gavera, the PNG quick bowler, just over his own forehead, on its way for a six 30 yards over the boundary behind the wicketkeeper.

A large swathe of those lucky few who were there at Sharjah Cricket Stadium to see it were happy to confess it was probably the best shot they had ever seen.

Perhaps more importantly, it was just another step on the path to a third win in four group matches so far for Nepal.

“He is one of our most talented T20 batsmen,” Paras Khadka, Nepal’s captain, said of Bhandari, whose innings of 51 included six sixes and set up a seven-wicket win.

“As a team, we have been given the freedom to express ourselves as we want, with the bat, and as a fielding or bowling unit.”

Pubudu Dassanayake, the Nepal coach, said his side are starting to make good on their rich talent after years of steady progress.

“This shows the potential we have, it is just that we have never been tested at this level before,” Dassanayake said.

“I am happy with the confidence levels and especially the maturity of the captain [Khadka] and the way he handled to situation.

“We have big hitters, guys who can change the game, they just need to get used to this level of cricket.”

Nepal’s success over PNG was crucial to their qualification hopes – but the fixture itself was a triumph for the sport at this level of the game.

Either of these teams would be welcome guests at T20 cricket’s big show in Bangladesh next year, given the brand of the game they play.

PNG themselves proved adept at self-expression with the bat, and not solely Geraint Jones, the former England player who made a fine 55 here.

“[Bhandari’s six] was one of the best shots I’ve seen,” said Tim Anderson, the ICC’s global development manager.

“It was a brave shot and there was terrific cricket played here today. Papua New Guinea, I think it’s worth saying, are a really good cricket team who I think will be in the mix at the end of the tournament as well.”

Other results on Tuesday

Italy 121-6

Raso 35 (no); Smit 2-23

Namibia 122-7

Williams 57; Sandri

Namibia won by 3 wickets

Canada 137-7

Hansra 58 (no); Arinaitwe 2-25

Uganda 93

Arinaitwe 28; Gordon 2-9

Canada won by 44 runs

Kenya 183-7

Aga 52 (no); Haq 2-21

Scotland 91

Murphy 20; Tikolo 4-2

Kenya won by 92 runs

pradley@thenational.ae