Wicket-keeper opener Dipen Shrestha had a memorable day behind and in front of the stumps as Nepal produced a thumping 10-wicket win over Bahrain today in the U-15 Asia Cup to set up semifinal clash with host United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
Dipen scored unbeaten 33 in 31 balls along with Anil Mandal for unbroken 104-run opening partnership in 13.4 overs after claiming four victims as wicket-keeper. Bahrain which lost the toss at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium was bowled out two balls before the allotted 40 overs for 103.
Captain Sashi Keshari, seamer Chandra Saud and Gyanendra Malla took two wickets each. Anil made unbeaten half-century, 53 in 51 balls with six fours and a six, while Dipen hit four boundaries as Nepal completed the runchase in 51 minutes. Both played flawlessly hammering Bahrain bowlers all over the ground.
Earlier, Nepal’s decision to field first in the moist wicket paid off as opener Chandra Saud and Amrit Bhattarai wrecked top order to put Bahrain under pressure. Bahrain was reduced to 15/3 as Chandra took two and Amrit one.
From then on, Bahrain played patiently and reached 53 without further damage. Lalith Suresh, who scored 19, and David, who topscored with 31, were responsible for the revival. However, spinner Angel Acharya claimed Suresh, caught by Antim Thapa, and captain Sashi trapped newman Samad for nought as Bahrain lost two quick wickets.
During the later part of the innings, Bahrain played defensively scoring at very slow rate and saving wickets. Its strategy however failed as it lost four last wickets for mere seven runs in the time when they had hoped to plunder runs.
Gyanendra took two last wickets with his leg-spin in his third over to end Bahrain’s innings at 103.
Nepal will meet UAE in the semifinal of the tournament at Dubai while the other semifinal will be played between Afghanistan and Malaysia. Hong Kong was thrashed by 217 runs by Afghanistan which scored 267/5 in 40 overs before bowling out Hong Kong for 50 runs. UAE overcome Singapore by three wickets chasing 134/7 while Malaysia defeated Kuwait by 66 runs after scoring 198/9.