Nepal confirmed a place in semifinal after beating arch-rival Afghanistan by 6 wickets in the ACC U-19 Elite Cup cricket tournament at AIT Ground, Bangkok on Friday.
Nepal bowled out Afghanistan for 125 runs in 42.3 overs and scored 127 for 4 in 26.4 overs for the comprehensive victory.
Pace bowler Avinash Karn set the tone taking a wicket in the first ball of the innings and Afghanistan batsmen never took off. Avinash followed by two more wickets while his opening partner Krishna Karki supported well with a wicket and disciplined bowling.
Avinash took the return catch offered by Afsar Khan, who had scored century against Thailand, on the first ball. Hashmatullah (3) holed out to mid-on off Krishna Karki in the fifth over.
Avinash, having changed his bowling end, got Younas Khan and Najibullah out to restrict Afghanistan at 24/4 in 10 overs. From then on, it was Afghani effort to score while Nepali bowlers bowled with disciplined to keep them restricted. Avinash to adjudged man of the match.
Pradeep Airee and Rahul BK claimed two wickets each while Krishna Karki and Bhuwan Karki took a wicket each for Nepal to end Afghanistan innings early enough for six overs batting before lunch. For Afghanistan Mohibullah Paak topscored with 30 and Rahmatullah Sahaq got 29.
Nepal lost Faizlur Khan, who had scored century two days ago, early but not before he hit two consecutive sixes. He made 14 and Nepal went to lunch at 39/1 in 6 overs. Nepal lost Sagar Pun (8) and Prithu Baskota (9) without much contribution but Subash Khakurel stayed long enough to build a good foundation. Subash scored 23 off 51.
Naresh Budayer then took charge in his hand, having survived when he was on 0 and 4. He remained unbeaten on 42 off 48 balls along with Pradeep Airee (10 off 13 balls) for the morale-boosting victory.
Nepal will now play hosts Thailand in the last league match at the same ground on Saturday.
“We bowled line to line and the spinners Bhuwan and Rahul did just the right thing. No doubt we would have struggled batting first because for 90 minutes in the morning the wicket was very difficult,” says victorious coach Jagata Tamata, “Batting we could have a little better but Afghanistan thought pace was the answer today when keeping wides down was more important.”
QATAR QUALIFY FOR SEMIFINAL
In Group A, Qatar defeated defending champions Hong Kong by 11 runs to qualify for semifinal. Qatar scored 168 and bowled out Hong Kong for Hong Kong 157 all out in 43 overs.