ACC under-17 asia cup : Haze dashes Nepal’s hopes

Kuala Lumpur, August 11:

For the first time in the ACC Under-17 Asia Cup, a Nepali batsman scored a half-century, other was just three runs short, and were heading towards a huge score. But the luck was

not on their part as the organisers decided to cancel the tournament. Nepal topped their group in league round before pulling out a surprising nine-run victory over hosts Malaysia in the quarter-finals.And on Thursday, they were on the brink of victory, but the natural calamities dashed their hopes, when the organising committee abandoned the ongoing tournament after the Malaysian government declared ‘haze emergency’ in the country’s capital. The emergency meeting of the organising committee held today postponed the semi-final matches — Nepal vs Kuwait and Singapore vs Bahrain — indefinetely, after the air pollution crossed hazardous levels from forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia. Invited to bat first after skipper Gyanendra Malla lost the toss, Nepal were batting at 132 for two in 28 overs, before the match was halted due to low visibility because of smoke.

Nepal was heading towards a huge total and the inexperienced Nepali team was about to enter the final of the Asian tournament for the non-Test playing nations, but was deprived of earning the big honour. The Nepali team are planning to return this weekend. After the interruption of two hours, the Kuwaiti team refused to continue the match and match referee Roger Binny and the umpires postponed the Kuwait innings for Friday. They also decided that Kuwait should chase the target of 186 runs in 28 overs, as per Duckworth-Lewis method.

Nepal opener Rajan Khadgi had scored 51 runs off 86 balls including nine fours, while Abinash

Bikram Shah was out for nine runs off 35 balls. Skipper Gyanendra Malla was batting on 10 off 20 balls and Sunam Gautam was on 47 off 58 balls when the match was interrupted. Nepal had lost the first wicket at 47 runs and the second at 98. Meanwhile, agencies reported that the haze has shrouded Kuala Lumpur and surrounding towns for more than a week in a pall of noxious fumes, smelling of ash and coal, in the country’s worst environmental crisis since 1997.