Kathmandu, November 17:
Skipper Kanishka Chaugain scored an unbeaten half century as Nepal beat Kuwait by nine wickets in the semi-final of the ACC Under-19 Cup cricket tournament at TU Stadium today.
In Saturdayâ€™s final, Nepal will face Malaysia, who beat Qatar by 60 runs at Tundikhel. Chasing 147 to win, Chaugain â€” who used Ratan Rauniyar as runner after scoring 26 runs because of cramps â€” scored unbeaten 78 off 109 balls including five fours and two sixes. Sharad Vesawkar remained unbeaten on 47 off 84 balls hitting three fours. Yeshwant Subedi (15) was the only wicket to fall. Kuwait skipper Sibtian Raza brought in spinners from both the ends after two overs, but his strategy did not go as planned. Openers Kanishka and Yashwant put on 45 runs before Yashwant edged to first slip, and Kanishka and Sharad had unbroken 102-run stand.
Earlier, Nepali bowlers supported Chaugainâ€™s decision to field first with disciplined bowling and dismissed the tourists for 146 in 39.2 overs. Medium pacers Amrit Bhattarai and Bantu Bataju wrecked the top order taking five wickets within them for just 38 runs. Bhattarai returned with 3-29, while Bataju claimed 2-36 off nine overs. No 3 Sibtian Raza and and No 8 Mubasher Khalid shared a 63-run partnership for the eighth wicket. Khalid was the top-scorer with 40 off 50 balls, while Raza scored 33. Keshari, who dismissed both Raza and Khalid in the 34th over, returned with 3-18 off 3.2 overs. Chaugain and Bhattarai were named the joint man of the match. Nepal coach Roy Dias was happy with his boysâ€™ performance. â€œIt was a good toss to win and the bowlers used the conditions well,â€ he said. Asked about the batsmen, Dias said: â€œI enjoyed their batting. They really batted well.â€
In the other match, Malaysia beat Qatar by 60 runs. Put into bat, Malaysia scored 218/6 in 50 overs. Suhian Kumar Algaratnam hit 10 fours in his 49-ball 55, while Md Ariffin Ramly scored 74 off 126 balls. At one stage, Malaysia was struggling at 85/4, but thanks to Algaratnam and the man of the match Ramly, who shared a 79-run partnership for the fifth wicket. In reply, Qatar struggled from the beginning and failed to build partnerships and was packed for 158 in 42.2 overs. Deon Britto and Qamiar Sadiq scored 27 runs each. Manrick Singh took 3-23