Nepal's old batting frailties came back to haunt them in Windhoek today as a middle order collapse leads to defeat to Uganda on the opening day of World Cricket League Division 2.
Ugandan captain Frank Nsubuga won the toss and chose to bat first at Affies Park. They found runs hard to come by early on, with the first four wickets contributing just 53 in 24 overs. Brian Masaba and Davis Karashani got things back on track with a 65 run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Masaba's dismissal for 43 was the first of four wickets for just eight runs in three overs as Uganda failed to kick on in the final overs. They were bowled out for 146, with Paras Khadka the pick of the Nepali bowlers with 3-14.
It should have been a relatively straightforward chase for Nepal, and it started off as such as they reached 67-1 in 20 overs, Gyanendra Malla leading the way. But Davis Karashni took the wickets of Subash Khakurel and Paras Khadka in quick succession, with two more wickets leaving Nepal well on the back foot on 87-5, collapsing as Malla looked on from the other end.
Malla and Sompal Kami took the score to 97 before Kami was out, whilst Malla, who at one point looked set for a big match winning innings, was the seventh man out for 34. At 110-8, Nepal were looking well out of it, but Shakti Gauchan and Basant Regmi put on 24 for the ninth wicket before Gauchan was dismissed.
With the last pair needing 13 from nine balls, three were taken from the remainder of the 49th over to get them needing 10 from the final over. Still anyone's game, and number eleven KC Karan looked to make it Nepal's when he hit a four from the first ball of the final over, before scoring a single from the second.
Only two runs came from the next three balls though, and Nepal needed three from the final ball. It wasn't to be as Regmi was caught by Masaba and Nepal had lost by 2 runs.
With Nepal having been hopeful of promotion from WCL2, this was a disastrous start to their campaign. They will look to get things back on track when they take on the Netherlands tomorrow. Uganda - considered likely relegation candidates, will be delighted with this start, and will look to capitalise on it when they take on hosts Namibia tomorrow.