Singapore: Powered by solid performances from all-rounder Ryan Burl and wicketkeeper-batsman Richmond Mutumbami, Zimbabwe cruised to a five wicket win against Nepal in the first match of the T20I tri-series in Singapore on Friday.
Defending a total of 132, Nepal were provided an encouraging start by Sandeep Lamichhane, fresh from an impressive stint in the Caribbean Premier League. He picked up three wickets in his first two overs to put Zimbabwe on the back-foot, but the Nepalese keeper also conceded two byes, which released a lot of the pressure that Lamichhane was successful in building.
Zimababwe stuttered for a bit more, however, and lost two more wickets to leave the score reading 64/5 at the halfway mark of the innings. That was when Burl and Mutumbami took matters into their own hands, and attacked off-spin bowling all-rounder Airee.
Abhinash Bohara and Kushal Malla were also at the wrong end of some lusty blows hit by the pair.
It was comfortable from that point on for Burl in particular, who took Zimbabwe to victory with a hat-trick of boundaries off the bowling of Malla, shortly after the 17th over.
Earlier, Nepal’s innings was also full of intent and desire, but similar to Zimbabwe’s chase, was punctuated with the loss of wickets early in their innings.
By the 11th over, they were 55/4 and Airee (40*) and Sompal Kami (25*) had to intervene to get Nepal to what initially seemed like a respectable total, keeping in mind the pitch.
Airee was the second highest run-scorer in Nepal’s T20 league, and he showed it with his five fours, eventually getting out in the 17th over.
Kami then helped Nepal score 36 runs off their last three overs, but as things turned out in the second innings, the score of 132/6 was simply not enough to get them over the line.