KATHMANDU: Anil Mandal and Shakti Gauchan scored half centuries as Nepal secured a convincing 118-run win over the defending champions Hong Kong in the opening day match of the ACC Trophy Elite Cup at the Unity grounds in Kuwait today.

Electing to bat first, Nepal made 236-7 in their allotted 50 overs before restricting Hong Kong for 118 in 33.3 overs in their Group A match. The foundation for victory was laid by the 118-run second wicket stand between Anil and Shakti. Nepal made a disastrous start losing opener Mahesh Chhetri (two), trapped leg before wicket off Aizaz Khan in the fifth ball of their innings.

But man-of-the-match

Anil and Shakti ensured Nepal pose a decent total on the board. Anil was run out for 72 after hitting eight fours and three sixes in his 96-ball knock while Nadeem Ahmed bowled out Shakti for 65. Gauchan struck six boundaries in his 93-ball innings.

After losing skipper Paras Khadka (one) and Sharad Vesawkar (four), who struck a century during the Pepsi

ICC World Cricket League Division-V tournament in Kathmandu, cheaply, allrounder Mehboob Alam (31), Dipendra Chaudhary (28 not out), Binod Das (11 not out) and Basant Regmi (10) added valuable runs to the total in the latter part of their innings.

Mehboob hit two sixes and a four in his 36-ball knock while Dipendra made unbeaten 28 off 24 balls including one six and a four. Nadeem Ahmed was the pick of the Hong Kong bowlers with 3-51 while Moner Ahmed (2-23) took two and Aizaz Khan 1-25.

Mehboob then gave Nepal an ideal start in their defence of 238, dismissing openers Moner Ahmed (naught) and Roy Lamsam (three) in his first two overs. The left-arm seamer bowled Moner with the third ball before returning to get rid of Roy, caught behind by wicketkeeper Mahesh Chhetri in the third ball of the third over. Mehboob’s opening partner Binod Das then uprooted the off-stump of Husian Butt (15) to reduce the defending champions to 31-3 by the sixth over.

Mehboob also had dangerman Ilyas Gul (27) caught by Shakti at midwicket. Ilyas struck five fours in his 29-ball knock. Although Irfan Ahmed (19), Waqas Barkat (19) and Jawaid Iqbal (16) briefly frustrated the Nepali bowlers,

they never looked like chasing the daunting total. Hong Kong’s defiance ended when Jawaid was caught at covers by Paras off left-arm spinner Rahul Kumar BK.

Nepal will play Oman on Friday at the same venue before taking on Singapore the next day. They will round up their league campaign with a match against the hosts Kuwait on April 6. Top two teams from each of the two groups will qualify for the semi-finals.

Budhayer to replace Malla

KATHMANDU: Right-handed batsman Naresh Budhayer is set to fill the place of Gyanendra Malla in the ongoing ACC Trophy Elite Cup in Kuwait. Budhayer will leave for Kuwait on Thursday after Malla was denied visa for the third time on Wednesday. Nepal won their opening match against Hong Kong by 120 runs on Wednesday. According to the ACC website, Malla was denied visa due to the minor spelling mistake in his application.