HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal lost to Pakistan by eight wickets in their opening match of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup at the Bayuemas Oval in Malaysia today.
Put in to bat, Nepal managed to resist a sharp Pakistani bowling attack but struggled to score freely managing just 156 all out in 46.1 overs. Sami Aslam, in reply, played a sensible knock to guide his team home in 37.3 overs. Man-of-the-match Sami made an unbeaten 82 off 115 balls with 12 boundaries.
Earlier, Nepal lost opener Subash Khakurel (six) early in the innings before another starter Pradeep Airee took the team close to 50-run mark with Naresh Budhayer inside 14 overs. Pradeep (18) hit three fours in 27 balls before he fell pray to Azizullah. Sagar Pun (seven) was Azizullah’s next victim as Nepal were 61-3 in 19.1 overs.
Naresh and skipper Prithu Baskota then shared a 40-run partnership taking the team beyond triple figures but once Naresh was run out in the 29th over, Nepal failed to recover from the damage. Naresh top scored in Nepali innings with 34 runs from 85 balls that included three boundaries. Prithu soon departed, trapped leg before by Mohammad Nawaz.
The Nepali skipper hit three boundaries in his 41-ball knock making 28 runs. Rajesh Pulami led a brief fightback with a 27-ball 23 hitting two boundaries but fell to Nawaz, while Rahul Kumar BK made 13 runs.
Nepal went into the match as nation that had defeated Pakistan in their first meeting in the ICC U-19 World Cup, 2002 with a sensational 37-run victory while defending a low 151 runs.
However, it was different story when the Pakistan innings unfolded. Nepali bowlers though contained openers Sami and Babar Azam, the two batsmen played with the required sensibility in the chase of a low total. The openers took the game away adding 98 runs for the first wicket in 22.4 overs. Rahul Kumar BK did get rid of Babar, stumped by Subash but by that time it was too late.
Babar made 48 runs from 64 balls striking four boundaries. Sagar Pun had the joy of trapping next batsman Imam ul-Haq (eight) leg before before Sami and Umar Waheed (10) completed the formalities. Sagar impressed with
his off break returning with the figures of 1-24 from 10 overs that included two maiden overs.
Nepal will now take on Malaysia — who lost to India by eight
wickets in the other Group ‘A’ match — on Sunday. In Group ‘B’ matches, Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by four wickets and Bangladesh inflicted a humiliating 328-run defeat to Qatar.
Opener Soumya Sarkar punished Qatar bowlers with a magnificent double hundred making 209 off 137 balls that helped his team pile up a mammoth 363-7. Abu Haider then produced a magical spell picking up nine wickets to squeeze Qatar to 35-9 in 11.4 overs. Omar Ishtiaq didn’t bat in Qatar innings due to injury.