Nepal thrashed Malaysia by seven wickets on Wednesday in its last group-stage match of the ACC U-19 Elite Cup to top Group B and set up a semifinal clash with the UAE.
Host Malaysia elected to bat at the Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur but was all out for a meager 69 runs in 22.4 overs as Nepali pacer Avinash Karn continued his impressive form in the tournament claiming six wickets.
In reply, Nepal reached the target in 24.4 overs losing only three wickets as Harishankar Shah scored an unbeaten 28 runs off 42 balls.
Man-of-the-match Karn, who had taken eight wickets including a hat-trick against Bahrain on Monday, rattled Malaysia and took his wickets tally to 19 in the tournament.
He is the leading wicket taker of the tournament. Among Nepali U-19 bowlers, Rahul Vishwakarma has the record of taking 21 wickets in a single tournament.
Vishwakarma, a national team player, had taken 21 wickets during the ACC U-19 Elite Cup 2011 and the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers 2011.
Nepali skipper Bhuwan Karki took two wickets while Yagyaman Kumal and Sushant Bhari claimed a wicket each to bundle out Malaysia.
Dhivendran Mogan (unbeaten 22 runs off 28 balls) was the highest scorer for Malaysia while Amiruddin Azahar contributed 15 runs off 23 balls. The 25-run partnership between Mogan and Pavandeep Singh (5 runs) for the 10th wicket was the highest of the Malaysian innings.
Nepal made a shaky start to the run chase as openers Nischal Pandey (7) and Amit Shrestha (10) were dismissed cheaply. However, Shah anchored the Nepali innings and shared a 42-run partnership for the third wicket with Bibhatsu Thapa (17 runs off 44 balls). Nirmal Thapa remained unbeaten on three runs to seal a comfortable victory. Pavandeep Singh, Varun Nadesh and Kogilan Muthu claimed a wicket each for Malaysia.
Nepal topped Group B winning all its group-stage matches and will meet Group A runner-up UAE on Friday in the semifinal. Meanwhile, Malaysia will take on Group A winner Afghanistan in another semifinal the same day.