Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran fire West Indies to World Cup qualifying win over Nepal

FILE - Shai Hope in action for the West Indies. Photo: @ICC on twitter

FILE - Shai Hope in action for the West Indies. Photo: @ICC on twitter

Published Jun 22, 2023


Harare — Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran hit centuries to propel the West Indies to a convincing 101-run win over Nepal at the World Cup Qualifier in Harare on Thursday.

Hope scored 132 while Pooran made a brisk 115 as the pair put on 216 for the fourth wicket to help the two-time champions post 339-7 after a bad start to the innings.

Kyle Mayers fell for just one and Johnson Charles was out for nought as the West Indies slumped to 9-2. Opener Brandon King made 32 before he was bowled by leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.

"We were put on the back foot there," said Hope.

"The key was absorbing as much pressure as possible and then find a way to transfer that pressure in the back end.

"Pooran made it a lot easier for me. The aim was to take it as deep as possible give us the best chance towards the end."

Hope and Pooran joined forces in the 16th over and took the game away from Nepal, who were left to rue a dropped catch off Pooran early in his innings.

Wicketkeeper Aasif Sheikh put down a Pooran edge off left-arm spinner Lalit Rajbanshi when the batsman was on just three.

With Hope ticking along at a more sedate pace, Pooran took on the role of aggressor before both players reached their hundreds in the 40th over.

Hope completed his 15th ODI ton off 107 balls before Pooran carved Gulsan Jha to the boundary a few deliveries later to bring up his second one-day century off 81 balls -- four years after his first.

Dipendra Singh Airee eventually removed Pooran for 115 with a terrific catch off his own bowling but Rovman Powell kept the runs flowing with a quick-fire 29 alongside Jason Holder's 16 not out.

Hope holed out to long-off in the final over for 132 and Keemo Paul was bowled off the last ball as Rajbanshi finished with 3-52.

Nepal pursuit rocked

Nepal's chase began poorly with Alzarri Joseph uprooting Kushal Bhurtel's off stump in the second over. Bhim Sharki soon followed when he was caught behind off Holder trying a scoop shot.

Several Nepali batsmen made decent starts but only Aarif Sheikh passed fifty, reaching 63 before falling to a stunning Pooran catch in the deep as his team was bowled out for 238.

Holder took 3-34 for the West Indies with Joseph, Paul and Akeal Hosein all picking up two wickets.

The West Indies have won their first two matches and moved above tournament hosts Zimbabwe on net run rate at the top of Group A. The two nations meet in their next match on Saturday.

In Thursday's other game, the Netherlands bounced back from an opening loss to Zimbabwe by condemning the United States to a third straight defeat.

Shayan Jahangir top-scored with 71 as the USA scrapped their way to 211-8, but Dutch captain Scott Edwards led his team to a five-wicket victory with an unbeaten 67 after Teja Nidamanuru steadied the innings with his 58.

The USA are eliminated from contention while the Netherlands and Nepal face off Saturday in a contest that will likely determine which team advances to the Super Six stage.

The qualifiers continue on Friday with surprise Group B leaders Oman hunting a third successive win against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo, while Scotland play the United Arab Emirates.