ODI WC Qualifiers: Hope, Pooran lead West Indies to thumping 101-run win over Nepal


Harare, June 22 (IANS) Captain Shai Hope and wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran slammed centuries while sharing a mammoth partnership of 216 runs for the fourth wicket to lead West Indies to a thumping 101-run win over Nepal in their Group A match of Men’s ODI World Cup qualifiers at Harare Sports Club, here on Thursday.

After being three down for just 55 runs, Hope (132) and Pooran (115) resurrected West Indies innings to end up at a huge 339/7 in 50 overs. Chasing 340, Nepal were never in the hunt as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

Contributions from Aarif Sheikh (63), Gulsan Jha (42) and captain Rohit Paudel (30) weren’t enough as Nepal were bowled out for 238 in 49.4 overs. For West Indies, pacer Alzarri Joseph took 3/34 while Jason Holder, Keemo Paul and Akeal Hosein took two wickets each to keep the Super Six hopes of two-time World Cup winners alive.

West Indies had a nightmarish start to their innings, losing Kyle Mayers (1) and Johnson Charles (0) in the first five overs, as Nepal bowlers kept things tight with probing new-ball spells. After reaching 30/2 at the end of first powerplay, Hope and Brandon King grew in confidence and improved their scoring rate.

But just when things had started to take off, King fell to Sandeep Lamichhane in the 15th over, as the leg-spinner took his first wicket of the tournament. Nepal very nearly had their fourth wicket when Pooran edged a Lalit Rajbanshi delivery behind the wicket, but the keeper failed to hold on, giving the left-hander a life at three.

The drop proved to be costly as Hope and Pooran unleashed a series of exquisite shots against pacers and spinners to bring West Indies back into the match and put them in the driver’s seat.

Hope and Pooran added almost 100 runs between the 26-37 overs. Both the batters brought up their centuries in the 40th over. This was the 15th ODI hundred for Hope, whereas it was the second ODI century for Pooran.

Nepal finally got a breakthrough when Dipendra Airee pulled off a brilliant catch off his own bowling to end Pooran’s knock at 115, ending their partnership at 216, the second-best fourth-wicket partnership for West Indies in ODIs.

Pooran’s fall brought little relief to the bowling side, as the West Indies continued wreaking havoc on the pitch. Hope’s (132) brilliant hundred came to an end in the final over, while cameos from Rovman Powell and Holder took West Indies above 350, sufficient to be a total for their second successive win of the competition.

Brief Scores: West Indies 339/7 in 50 overs (Shai Hope 132, Nicholas Pooran 115, Lalit Rajbanshi 3/52) beat Nepal 238 all out in 49.4 overs (Aarif Sheikh 63, Gulsan Jha 42; Jason Holder 3/34, Alzarri Joseph 2/45) by 101 runs



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