Kaia, Evans help Zimbabwe A defeat Nepal in first one-dayer
Nepal – 136 all out in 31.3 overs (Sompal Kami 30, Karan KC 25, Kushal Bhurtel 19; Brad Evans 4/27, Cephas Zhuwao 2/9, Brandon Mavuta 2/24)
Zimbabwe A – 137-7 in 26 overs (Innocent Kaia 48*, Cephas Zhuwao 32, Brad Evans 17*; Karan KC 2/30, Sandeep Lamichhane 2/32, Sompal Kami 1/14)
Zimbabwe A won by three wickets
A magnificent fighting innings of 48 not out by Innocent Kaia held the Zimbabwe A batting together and saw them through to victory by three wickets in the first unofficial one-day international against Nepal at Kirtipur on Friday.
Zimbabwe A won the toss, put the home side in to bat, and immediately Kushal Bhurtel launched a full-blooded attack on the opening bowlers, Victor Nyauchi and Brad Evans.
He scored 19 off 10 balls, with four fours, until in the third over Nyauchi bowled him out with the total on 22.
In the following over, Evans had Aasif Sheikh caught at the wicket by Clive Madande for five, and then Nyauchi bowled Aarif Sheikh, also for five.
This left Nepal reeling at 33 for three in the fifth over.
They never recovered, although Dipendra Singh Airee scored 18 off 20 balls before he also was caught at the wicket off Evans.
Sompal Kami, coming in at number six, put his head down and fought his way to a determined 30, which took him 70 balls.
He found some support from Karan KC, who scored 25 off 36 balls, and this pair took the score past 100 and added 37 for the eighth wicket, the highest partnership of the innings, in just over 10 overs.
The left-arm spin of Cephas Zhuwao finally accounted for both of these batters, and the Nepal innings closed for 136, having lasted only 31.3 overs.
Evans was the outstanding bowler, delivering 8.3 overs and taking four wickets for 27 runs, three of them at the top of the order.
There were two wickets each for Nyauchi, Brandon Mavuta and Zhuwao.
Innocent Kaia opened the Zimbabwe A batting with Zhuwao, the heavy artillery the team had brought in to counter the Nepalese hitters.
Kaia was able to sit back and watch, as Zhuwao briefly played himself in and then began his assault, the highlight being in the fifth over, when he hit the left-arm spinner Sagar Dhakal for a four and two sixes off successive deliveries.
However, in the next over Nepal’s captain and star leg-spin bowler Sandeep Lamichhane trapped Zhuwao into lofting a catch, and he was out for 32 off 29 balls, with two sixes and three fours.
Tadiwanashe Marumani came in, hit a boundary and was then caught.
Innocent then shared a useful posh with his cousin Roy Kaia, until the latter was caught for 14, making the score 80 for three.
Then the side got into trouble, as the captain Tony Munyonga was caught and bowled for five, Johnathan Campbell was run out also for five, and Madande was caught for one.
This made the score 100 for six wickets, and victory was now by no means assured.
Luke Jongwe came in, and with Innocent the pair concentrated on keeping the score ticking over with well-placed singles.
At 118, however, Jongwe was bowled by Dhakal for five, and Evans replaced him with seven wickets down and 19 runs still needed.
The score crept up slowly to 121 in the next three overs, before suddenly Evans found his confidence against the left-arm spinner Sushan Bhari, and in the next over, the 26th of the innings, he hit him for two sixes and a four, and Zimbabwe A were home and dry in a triumphant finish.
Evans finished with 17 not out, while Innocent ended with 48 off 48 balls, with a six and four fours, unfortunately just short of a richly deserved fifty, but no doubt he will be well satisfied with the victory he fought so hard to achieve.
Nepal for their part fought hard with the ball and in the field to try to make up for their batting failures.
Lamichhane and Karan were the most successful bowlers with two wickets each.