Paudel ton gives Nepal thrilling win over West Indies A in first T20 – The Kathmandu Post

Skipper Rohit Paudel scored a blistering century as Nepal defeated West Indies A by four wickets in the first T20 and took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series at the TU Cricket Ground in Kirtipur, Kathmandu on Saturday.
Paudel smashed 112 runs in his aggressive 54-ball knock that featured 10 fours and six sixes, helping Nepal chase down a big target of 205 runs with two balls to spare.
Coach Monty Desai gave the responsibility of opening the batting to Anil Sah in place of regular opener and wicket keeper Aasif Sheikh, who was rested for the opening T20.
In February, the 25-year-old Sah had announced his return to international cricket with a fifty and an unbeaten century against Canada during the Nepal-Canada home bilateral ODI series. He also scored an unconquered half-century in Nepal’s nine-wicket thrashing of the Netherlands during the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 the same month.
However, Sah has lost his form since, scoring only 42 runs from his last five innings.
On Saturday, Sah left the crease in 2.1 overs making just five runs facing nine deliveries, caught by Kadeem Alleyne off Mathhew Forde.
Meanwhile, Nepal’s another regular opener Kushal Bhurtel is experiencing the lowest point of his career. He was dismissed for a duck for a three match in a row in Nepal’s forgettable ACC Men’s T20 Premier Cup campaign in Oman. Bhurtel is one of the only three Nepali cricketers (alongside Dipendra Singh Airee and Paudel) to have crossed 1000-run mark in men’s T20Is but his dip in form just one month before Nepal’s 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has raised question whether he would be fit to travel to the West Indies and the United States.
Desai, who is now feeling the pressure to reinstall steel in a failing Nepali team ahead of their crucial World Cup tournament, still put faith in Bhurtel but the opener struggled with the bat again, as he returned to the pavilion scoring 16 runs off 12 balls.
But Paudel came at number three and showed the world Nepal can emerge from the ashes, shouldering the responsibility and batting all the way to the 19 overs, and steering his team closer to victory.
Kushal Malla’s form is also a big concern. His 16 off 15 against the visiting West Indies was his highest individual score in his last four games.
In fact, Paudel returned from Oman wearing the tag of the biggest flop after failing to lead the Rhinos to the 2025 Asia Cup and 2024 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup.
But, back at home, Paudel showed character and demonstrated his side could learn from mistakes. He added 64 runs with Dipendra for the fourth wicket before Dipendra, one of the consistent batters and the only bright spot of Nepal in the Premier Cup, fell to Keemo Paul in the 15.3 overs.
Paudel kept on fighting and reached his century off 47 balls. It was his first hundred in an international (unofficial) T20 match. It will not be recognised by the International Cricket Council though.
New batter Bibek Yadav (7) also departed without making significant contribution, before Forde finally undid Paudel in the 18.5 overs.
But the skipper had already laid a strong foundation.
With Nepal needing 14 runs from the last seven balls, Pratis GC smashed a four off Forde to balance the equation and Gulsan Jha cracked two consecutive boundaries off Oshane Thomas, helping Nepal overhaul the target in style.
Forde and Obed McCoy took two wickets each for the West Indies A, while Paul pocketed one.
Earlier, West Indies A posted 204-5 from their 20 overs after being invited to bat first, thanks to impressive knocks from captain Roston Chase and Alick Athanaze.
The tourists lost their opener Johnson Charles for a duck to Kamal Airee in the first over but Athanaze played a brisk 25-ball 47 and Chase cracked 74 runs from 46 balls to guide their team to a huge total.
Keacy Carty was also brilliant as he made 38 off 26 balls and assisted Chase to add 60 runs for the fifth wicket.
Andre Fletcher contributed 5-ball 13, while Alleyne added 14 not out off 15 balls for the visitors.
Kamal Airee, who was one of the four additions alongside Lokesh Bam, Binod Bhandari, Sagar Dhakal, in the 20-man squad, took a wicket. Dipendra, Rohit Paudel and Abinash Bohara also picked a wicket apiece.
Sompal Kami and Karan KC were also benched.
The second T20 takes place on Sunday. This tour is the first for a West Indies side in Nepal.


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