Acc u-19 cup preview: Nepal looking for a hat-trick of U-19 titles

Kathmandu, November 18:

Nepal is hoping to become the first nation to win the ACC Under-19 Cup for the third successive time when they take on old rivals Malaysia in the final at TU Stadium on Saturday.

Nepal won the titles in home (2001) and in Karachi (2003), both times beating Malaysia in final. Binod Das, current skipper of senior team, led Nepal to a seven-wicket victory in 2001, while Shakti Gauchan, who is the deputy to Das in the current national team, led his team to 30-run victory in 2003. Nepal has an upper hand against Malaysia in this level, as Nepali colts had beaten Malaysia in the other two encounters between these two countries. “I agree that Nepal has got upper hand against Malaysia, but I don’t believe in past records. Everything depend on the particular day,” said Nepal’s coach Roy Luke Dias, who admitted that both the teams have balanced sides. “The match is important not only for me, but is also important for the players. They need to do their basics properly, keep it simple and enjoy the game without feeling any pressure,” said the former Sri Lankan Test player.

“I must say Malaysia is also a strong side, and the pressure is on both the sides as there is only slot in the World Cup,” he said. Asked about the strategy for the match, Dias said that the toss would be important depending on the condition. “I won’t say the team winning the toss would win the match, but it will be an advantage,” said Dias. “Most probably we will go with the same side that won the semi-final, as we can not try out things in the final,” he informed. “Batsmen are having a good knock, bowlers are doing great job and the fielding has been excellent. So no point making any change in the squad,” he justified.

Malaysia coach John Bailey said that the pressure would be on Nepal. “They are a good side and playing in front of home crowds, so the pressure will be on Nepal,” he said. “I know this is a final, but just another game for us and we need to win the match,” he said. “I don’t have any special plans against Nepal and I don’t think we need to do any extra to beat Nepal,” he claimed. “We are here to win and the success is just in front of us,” he said.

SQUADS: NEPAL — Kanishka Chaugain (captain), Paras Khadka (vice captain), Mahesh Chhetri (wicketkeeper), Gyanendra Malla, Amrit Bhattarai, Raj Shrestha, Sharad Vesawkar, Ratan Rauniyar, Yashwant Subedi, Bantu Bataju, Shashi Keshari, Basanta Regmi, Abhaya Rana, Prem Chaudhary, Roy Luke Dias (coach), Shankar Kumar Rana (assistant coach), Pradeep Kumar Karki (manager). MALAYSIA — Eszrafiq Abd Aziz, Manrick Singh, Mohd Shukri Abd Rahim, Rosman Zakaria, Suhan Kumar Alagaratnam, Faris Almas, Lee Rosmanizam, Sarath Ananthasivam, Mohd Shafiq Mohd Sharif, Maxwell Stephen Bala, Mahyudin Mansor, Mohd Kasman Mohd Kedari, Darvin Muralitharan, Shanmugam Nanthagobabo, Mohd Ariffin Ramly, Mohammad Iqbal Ali Kassim Ali (manager), John Bailey (coach), V Subramaniam (physio).