Max O'Dowd helps Netherlands prevail over fighting Nepal - Cricket News | Cricket Updates | Match Report

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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Max O'Dowd helps Netherlands prevail over fighting Nepal

 O'Dowd top-scored with an unbeaten 54

O'Dowd top-scored with an unbeaten 54 © AFP

Netherlands completed a nervy six-wicket win over Nepal in their T20 World Cup opener in Dallas, chasing a target of 107 with only eight balls to spare. Max O'Dowd's mature unbeaten half-century up top ensured two points for Scott Edwards's side.

The difference: Max O'Dowd's knock

O'Dowd remained unbeaten on 54* off 48 balls, helping Netherlands close the run-chase when the pressure was on them, on admittedly another bowler-friendly pitch. It got so tight that Netherlands needed over run a ball after the 17th over, but O'Dowd's takedown of Abinash Bohara when things got tight ensured that the match didn't run into the final over. Of course it didn't help that O'Dowd was dropped at long-off on 41, which may have exaggerated the difference between the sides.

Nepal

PowerPlay 29/2

(6x4s)

Netherlands won a good toss in conditions rife for swing and seam but their left-field decision to have a spinner bowl with the new ball paid immediate dividends. Tim Pringle, the left-arm spinner, struck with the wicket of Aasif Sheikh before Logan van Beek doubled down with the wicket of Kushal Bhurtel in his first over. Van Beek could also have had Rohit Paudel in the same over but an inside edge, spotted on review, saved the Nepal captain.

Middle overs 46/4

(5 x 4s)

This is the phase of play where Nepal really lost the plot. Netherlands bowlers kept chipping in with wickets, starting with Anil Sah, who was outwitted on the sweep by Pringle. Paul van Meekeren then had Kushal Malla caught at mid-on, restricting Nepal to 53/4 after 10 overs. Then two beautiful pieces of seam bowling brought about two more wickets, with Bas de Leede getting Dipendra Singh caught at first slip and Paul van Meekeren bowling Sompal Kami with a nip-backer.

Death overs 31/4

(3 x 6s)

Paudel, the top-scorer at 35, fell in the 16th over in a major blow, holing out to long-off to give Pringle his third wicket of the match. Van Beek too finished with three against his name, wrapping up the innings with back-to-back wickets of Gulsan Jha and Abinash Bohara. Karan KC's cameo of 17 off 12 helped Nepal reach 106 but they were eventually bowled out with four balls to spare.

Netherlands

PowerPlay 36/1

(6 x 4s)

Karan KC bowled three of the PowerPlay overs as Nepal kept a lid on the scoring while adding the wicket of Michael Levitt, who holed one up in the air. But amidst some tight bowling, Max O'Dowd and Vikramjit Singh ticked runs at around run-a-ball.

Middle overs 43/2

(2 x 4s)

It remained neck and neck between the two sides even in the middle overs, with the Nepal bowlers allowing three fewer runs than their batters scored in this phase of play. Only two boundaries were conceded in the middle overs as Netherlands got to 52/2 after 10 overs, having lost Vikramjit Singh to lbw to Dipendra Singh. Sybrand Engelbrecht's run out at the start of the 14th over added a spring in Nepal's step, who now felt they could defend the target.

Final overs 30/1 in 3.4 overs

As the final five overs kicked off, Scott Edwards was bowled by Abinash Bohara and a tight four-run 17th over by Sagar Dhakal made the equation even tighter. That's when O'Dowd stepped up and hit a 6 and a 4 off consecutive balls in the 19th over to all but get Netherlands past the finish line.

Brief Scores: Nepal 106 in 19.2 overs (Paudel 35; Pringle 3-20, van Beek 3-18) lost to Netherlands 109/4 in 18.4 overs (O'Dowd 54*; Dipendra 1-6) by 6 wickets

What next?

Netherlands now travel to New York to play South Africa on June 8 whereas Nepal have a long six-day break before they take on Sri Lanka in Florida

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