HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal launched their ACC U-16 Elite Cup campaign with a comprehensive 78-run victory over Kuwait in Kuala Lumpur today.
Nepal were all out for 179 in 32.4 overs after electing to bat first in their first Group ‘B’ match at the Bayuemas Oval. Man-of-the-match Kalicharan Yadav then bowled a fiery spell taking four wickets to restrict Kuwait for 101 in 32.4 overs. Kuwait lost their last seven wickets for just 13 runs.
Nepal in their defense had a dream start reducing Kuwait to 23-3 — Kalicharan taking two of the three— inside six overs. But, Faizan Sadiq and Saideep Yarapureddy consolidated Kuwait innings with a 65-run stand for the fourth wicket. And just as it appeared that both the batsmen were comfortable with Nepali bowling, Shashi Bhushan Mishra provided the breakthrough taking a return catch of Faizan in the 24th over.
In his next over, Shashi trapped Saideep leg before wicket, reducing Kuwait to 93-5. Kalicharan took two middle order wickets as Kuwait ended up losing their last seven wickets for 13 runs. Saideep made a 64-ball 34 with four fours, while Faizan made 27 off 59 with three fours. Other Kuwaiti batsmen failed to make runs in double figures. Skipper Jagdish Chand also had two scalps.
Earlier, Nepal’s total was built around patient knocks from Nurdhoj Sen and Kushal Bhurtel as well as the 32 sundries. Nepal lost skipper Dipendra Chand (five) with just 11 runs on the board. Middle order batsmen Shashi (10), Adil Khan (four) and Aashif Sheikh (two) failed with the bat as Nepal struggled at 75-4 by the 13th over.
Nurdhoj added 27 runs — highest partnership in Nepali innings — with Kushal before he ran himself out in the 18th over. Nurdhoj made 47 runs in 58 balls with six boundaries, while Kushal scored 54-ball 35 with four hits to the fence. Tail-enders Kalicharan (12) and Akash Bista (11) lifted Nepal’s total from 159-9. Kalicharan struck two fours and Akash hit one.
Moshed Sarwar picked up four wickets for Kuwait, while Saideep also had two scalps. Nepal’s coach Manzur Alam told The Himalayan Times that Shashi’s breakthrough was crucial. “We had a good start taking first three wickets in no time. But, the next two batsmen (Faizan and Saideep) were batting well in the middle and Shashi’s breakthrough came at a perfect time for us,” Manzur told over the phone.
Manzur said his team will now look to correct their mistakes in next matches after getting a desired start in the tournament. Nepal will take on Bahrain in their second match on Sunday.