CWC League 2 has entered its final stage with a tri-series in Nepal also involving UAE and Papua New Guinea. The hosts are the only team capable of taking third place - and an automatic place in the qualifier for this year's men's ODI World Cup - but they need four wins from four games to do that.
They won the first of those games today when they took on basement-dwellers Papua New Guinea today at the Tribhuvan University international cricket ground.
Batting first after PNG captain Assad Vala put them in, Nepal started with an opening partnership of 110 between Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh, which ended in the 19th over when Bhurtel was out for 45.
Sheikh carried on and scored 110 at exactly a run per ball, his maiden century in ODIs. Contributions also came in the middle order from Rohit Paudel (30) and Bhim Sharki (44). Semo Kamea, the 21-year-old left-arm pace bowler, got his first five wicket haul in ODIs, taking 5-38 in Nepal's total of 297, the last wicket falling five balls from the end.
Papua New Guinea's reply began with a 77 run partnership between Tony Ura and Kiplin Doriga, with Ura reaching 50 from 44 balls before he was dismissed. Nepal strangled the run rate in the middle overs of the chase, though Assad Vala managed to score 42 from 53 balls.
Some late innings hitting from Norman Vanua (60 from 55 balls, his highest ODI score) came too late to make any real difference and the visitors were bowled out for 245, a 52 run win for the home team.
Nepal next play on Sunday when they take on UAE. Just one more win will ensure that they retain ODI status, but they will be hoping for three more to secure that top three finish. The next match in this tri-series is tomorrow when PNG take on the UAE.