HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Batsmen failed to deliver yet again in a crunch match as Nepal crashed out of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup league stage losing to India by 81 runs in their final Group ‘A’ match at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today.
Nepal were in the verge of pulling yet another upset win over a junior side of Test-playing nation when bowlers — particularly Bhuwan Karki — did extremely well to bundle out India for 176 in 45.2 overs.
Chasing a revised target of 173 in 47 overs after a brief rain-interruption, Nepali top order crumbled to a disciplined Indian attack and were eventually restricted for 91 in 27.3 overs.
Nepal were in dire straits at 33-6 in 15.5 overs with Subash Khakurel (nine), Pradeep Airee (four), Naresh Budhayer (five), Sagar Pun (one), skipper Prithu Baskota (naught) and Hashim Ansari (four) sent back cheaply. Rajesh Pulami Magar (17) and Rahul Kumar BK (12) took the team beyond 50-run mark but Nepal’s loss was inevitable after being reduced to 65-9 in 20.4 overs.
Bhuwan Karki — who top scored with 24 runs — gave some respectability to the total taking the team close to triple figures. Bhuwan shared 26 runs for the last wicket with Saurav Khanal (five) with his 29-ball knock including five boundaries. Rajesh hit a four in his 18-ball stay at the crease, while Rahul hit a six and four in 11 deliveries.
Man-of-the-match Vikas Mishra picked up four wickets for India. Sandeep Sharma, Harmeet Singh and Mohsin Sayed also had two scalps each.
Earlier, Avinash Karn gave Nepal a breakthrough trapping Sanju Samson (nine) leg before wicket but his opening partner Unmukt Chand and Baba Aparajith (55) consolidated the Indian innings with a stand of 64 runs. However, once Unmukt (47) was caught by Sagar off Rahul, India began to struggle in the middle.
Bhuwan and Sagar prevented the Indian batsmen from playing openly conceding only 56 runs in their 19 overs. Bhuwan returned with the figures of 3-23 from nine overs that also included the prized scalp of Aparajith. The No 3 Indian batsman top scored with 55 off 87 with two boundaries, while Unmukt hit seven boundaries and a six in his 73-ball 47. Sagar returned with 2-33 from 10 overs, while Rahul finished with 3-35 from 9.2 overs. Prithu also had one scalp.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan entered the semi-finals from Group ‘B’ after stunning Bangladesh by seven wickets. The Afghans will now meet Group ‘A’ winners Pakistan, who crushed Malaysia by 249 runs today, in on Thursday. India will play Group ‘B’ toppers Sri Lanka on Friday. Sri Lanka hammered Qatar by 87 runs in their final league match.