Nepal U19 finally tasted a victory in the last group match of the ACC Youth Asia Cup in Sri Lanka beating Malaysia by one wicket at Nondescripts Cricket Club Ground, Colombo on Sunday, 18 December.
Malaysia were asked to bat first and bowlers got rid of the both openers early. Rohit Kumar and Dipendra Singh Airee dismissed Fadli Haris (7) and Ainool Haqqiem (1) respectively. Nepalese bowlers applied the pressure from both the ends and were able to restrict Malaysia for 85/7 but Skipper Virandeep Singh was outstanding with his bat today.
Skipper steadied the innings and took his team score to 153 with the major contribution from Number 9, 10 and 11. He top-scored with 75 runs from 118 balls including 7 boundaries. Muhammad Hasif (21) supported him towards the end with a vital 35 runs partnership for eight wicket.
Aadil Khan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets (7-0-24-3), Dipendra Singh Airee and Sandeep Lamichhane shared two wickets each.
In reply, Nepal were rocked back by early dismissals of Aasif Shiekh (1) and Aadil Khan (0) in the second over of match by Muhammad Hafiz. Both of them were trapped in front. Opener Avinash Karn made 29(45) including four boundaries.
In-form Dipendra Singh Airee contributed with 22(25) but failed once again to convert his start to a big inning. Nepal team lost their half side (80/5) after his dismissal. Middle order batsman, Anil Sah was the key batsman for Nepal today. He added 18 runs with Airee followed by another 25 runs partnership with Rohit Kumar.
Sah scored 32 run (66) and a match winning partnership of 38 runs with Pawan Sarraf before losing his wicket in 43rd over. Nepal were stranded for 145/9, still needing 9 runs to win but an unbeaten 29 runs from Sarraf and 3 runs from Skipper Lamichhane held their nerve to overcome by 1 wicket win in 44.4 overs.
With one win and two losses, Nepal U19 couldn’t make it to next round but the tournament has given a great exposure for all the youngsters.