Nepali leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane on Sunday added one more feather to his already illustrious professional career when he played for Sylhet Sixers during the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 match against Comilla Victorians at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka.
The-18-year-old joined Sixers immediately after leaving Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia after representing Melbourne Stars in four matches. He was instrumental in helping Stars win two of their four matches with a total haul of eight wickets. The globetrotting career of Lamichhane started with the lucrative Indian Premier League stint with Delhi Daredevils, renamed as Delhi Capitals this year, last season. Since then he has been contracted with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League, Nangarhar in the Afghanistan Premier League, T10 League in Sharjah for Kerala Knights, Pakistan Super league for Lahore Qalandars and most recently the BBL for the Stars.
On Sunday, Lamichanne bowled brilliantly to take the fight against Victorians with economical figures of 2-16 off four overs but still ended up on the losing side. Put into bat first, Sixers put on a below-par 127-8 on the board with 23-year-old West Indian Nicholas Pooran contributing 26-ball 41.
Despite chasing a low total, Victorians were made to toil for victory thanks to a double strike from Lamichhane who gave Sixers hopes with the dismissal of former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik (13) and Bangladeshi mainstay Anamul Haque (5). Victorians completed a four-wicket win chasing the target in the penultimate ball of their innings.
Skipper David Warner handed Lamichhane the ball in the eight over and the Nepali teenager conceded just five runs. Lamichhane opened his spell bowling at Steve Smith, Warner’s Australian captain at the time of ball-tampering scandal during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Like Warner, Smith is also serving a one-year ban from international and domestic cricket for his role in the scandal.
Lamichhane also returned wicketless in the next over, the 10th, but gave away just three runs. Victorians appeared to be coasting towards their target at 75-4 when Lamichhane struck in the last ball of his next over, the 13th. Malik attempted a pull shot but found a toe-end of his bat that carried the ball to Sabbir Rahman at midwicket.
Sixers were back in the game when Lamichhane got rid of Haque with his second ball of his fourth over, the 15th of the innings. After scoring two runs off Lamichhane’s first ball, Haque tried a slog-sweep to a fuller delivery outside the stumps which turned inwards to dislodge the bells.
The two wickets slowed down the Victorian run chase but Pakistan batsman Shahid Afridi, known as ‘Boom Boom’ for brutal hittings during his heydays in international cricket, lived up to his billings to complete the chase with an unbeaten 39 off 25 balls.
Lamichhane is scheduled to eight matches in the BPL before joining Nepali national team for a three-match One Day and T20 International Series from January 25 to February 3 in the United Arab Emirates. Lamichhane can still join Big Bash after his national team commitment for at least two matches before the tournament enters the playoff stage. The Big Bash runs until February 17.
By Sports Bureau, Kathmandu