Nepal made it to the final of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-15 Elite Cup Cricket Tournament with another day of resolute batting performance in the second day of the drawn semifinal against Bahrain at the Kelab Aman Ground.

Bibek Dali and Surendra Chand led Nepal in the second day with a half century each as Bahrain got no chance whatsoever to come back in the match after conceding the first innings lead.

Nepal now faces the UAE in the finals on the Wednesday at the Kinrara Cricket Ground as host Malaysia conceded the another drawn semifinal on bonus points.

Resuming at the overnight score of 65/6 in 38 overs, Bahrain played only eight more overs and added 27 runs. Bahrain declared the innnings soon after loosing captain David Mathias for 41 when the total was 92/8 when the team was still 77 runs behind Nepal.

Nepal, in the second innings gave no chance for Bahrain and batted 75 overs to settle for a draw and cash in on the five bonus points on the first innings lead. By virtue of the lead Nepal ended up in the draw with 13 points while Bahrain could only manage 7 bous points.

Rochak Bhatta claimed the Bahrain skipper in the sixth over of the day while he ran out Anant Bhal, the the overnight Bahrain batsman for 14 runs in the same over. He ended up picking three wickets in the innings.

In the second innings Bibek Dali and Surendra Chand shared a 97-run fifth wicket partnership to ensure the draw for Nepal when Bahrain skipper struck twice in a single over to reduce Nepal to 12/3. Opener Subendu Pandey and Aakash Pariyar failed miserably once again to score returning to the pavilion for nought while Sagar Pun made 10 runs before falling as the third Nepal wicket in the fifth over. Prithu Banskota and Surendra Chand then shared a 36-run fourth wicket stand to give some comfort to the rokies but soon Prithu was trapped infornt by David for eight runs.

The most important contributor for Nepal was Bibek came up with a big performance to cover up his earlier failures. He scored unbeaten 80 runs with two boundaries. Chand, who also had been unable to impress in the last three matches, made 54 runs. Dali played 165 balls while chand innings was of 151 balls. The partnership sent Bahrain crushing out of the semifinals. Santosh Bhatta made nine runs while the other not out batsman Krishna Karki made five runs.

Every run of the partnership was cheered by a handful of Nepali students present on the ground who turned up in the ground right from the beginning of the match with food stuff and drinks to the players in the sweltering heat of Malaysia where the mercury is hovering around mid 30s. Nepal declared the innings at 200/7 with just half of the last hour remaining for the day with a victroy target of 277. Both the captains decided to settle for a draw and Nepal with more bonus points in the match qualified for the finals.

Pradeep Airee, who scored a match saving half century (50) for Nepal in the first innings and took one wicket as well was declared the man of the match.

“I’m really happy and proud of the boys,”said coach Roy Dias whose plan of batting Bahrain out of the match in the second innings was well supported by the batters. “Dali in my openion batted superbly and Chand also came amongst run.” When asked about the batting failures of the main batsmen , Prithu and Aakash, Roy said that as long as the team performs he would not care individual performances.

“I think my earlier failures can be covered by this innings for which i’m really happy,”said Dali who hails from Kaliaya. Elated manager Basanta Raj Satyla said that the suspected looking Nepali batting line up is coming up with tearms in every match and he is confident about Nepal’s victory in the finals.

Assistant caoch Suresh Datta Pandey and Assistant manager Chatur Bahdur Chand also expressed their confidence of Nepal defending the ACC U-15 Cup title.

Photo/Text by Devendra, Malaysia