The Nepalese U19 team has booked a place in the super-six stage of the ICC U19 World Cup 2024. They registered a thrilling one-wicket win over Afghanistan U19 in a do-or-die match to progress ahead.
The outcome of this match was critical for both Nepal and Afghanistan, as the victorious team would secure a place in the super-six stage. Having suffered defeats against New Zealand and Pakistan in their previous two matches, Nepal and Afghanistan were in a do-or-die situation. In this crucial contest, Nepal emerged triumphant.
Following a target of 146 runs, they had to fight really hard before reaching the target in 44.4 overs losing nine wickets. Subash Bhandari hit the winning run in a tense scenario.
Nepal lost three quick wickets in the form of Arjun Kumal (10), Gulshan Jha (1) and Bipin Rawal (2) as they were three wickets down for 24 runs. Aakash Tripathi and skipper Dev Khanal added 49 runs for the fourth wicket before Tripathi was dismissed for 16. Deepak Dumre and Dipesh Kandel were sent back swiftly.
Dev Khanal anchored the inning and finally got some support from Dipak Bohara. They added crucial 36 runs before Dev was dismissed. He scored 58 runs from 89 balls with seven boundaries. Bohara too was dismissed for 27 runs with Nepal still requiring six runs. Faridoon Dawoodzai knocked over Aakash Chand too as Nepal needed two runs with just one wicket in hand. Subash Bhandari held his nerve and took Nepal home with a boundary in the fourth ball of 44 over.
For Afghanistan, Faridoon Dawoodzai took three wickets. Naseer Khan Maroofkhil and Khalil Ahmed also grabbed two wickets each.
Earlier in the first inning, The Nepalese U19 team bundled out Afghanistan U19 for a mere total. The decision to elect to bat first backfired Afghanistan as they were bowled out for 145 in 40.1 overs.
Nepalese pacers were on fire early on. Especially Aakash Chand who became the fourth bowler and first pacer to pick up a five-wicket haul for Nepal in U19 World Cup. Gulshan Jha dismissed Numan Shah (0) in the first over and Aakash Chand sent back Khalid Taniwal (0) in the second over as Afghanistan were 2/2 after the second over. Chand then picked up the next four wickets to complete his fifer. Afghanistan were in a pitiful situation of 43/6 in the 12th over.
Allah Ghazanfar then came and smacked 21-ball 37 outta nowhere. He smacked four sixes and three sixes before being dismissed by Tilak Bhandari. Dipesh Kandel followed with a wicket in his first over. Afghanistan added a crucial 55-run partnership for the ninth wicket. Skipper Naseer Khan scored an anchoring 31 runs. Faridoon Dawoodzai made 29 runs before being dismissed as the last wicket.
For Nepal Aakash Chand (8-0-34-5) was the pick of a bowler. Dipesh Kandel picked up two wickets whilst Subash Bhandari, Gulshan Jha and Tilak Bhandari grabbed one wicket each.