Nepal enter Plate Championship semis

Colombo, February 14:

Patience of middle-order batsmen and discipline bowling by the spinners helped Nepal defeat Uganda by 60 runs in the quarter-finals of the U-19 World Cup Plate Championship here today. In Thursday’s semis, Nepal will face Test-playing nation South Africa, who beat Scotland by 185 runs.

Electing to bat first, Nepal scored 192/9 in 50 overs despite having a poor start. Gyanendra Malla and Basanta Regmi consolidated Nepali innings after top order failed to lay foundation. Nepal was 52/4 at one stage, but Malla and Regmi brought Nepal back on track. Man of the match Malla scored 64 off 122 balls including seven boundaries while Regmi remained unbeaten on 42 off 61 deliveries. This is Malla’s second international half century. He had scored half century against UAE in the U-15 Asia Cup last year.

Nepal’s coach Roy Dias praised his spinners especially Raj Shrestha. Raj claimed one wicket conceding just five runs in eight overs. “The target of 193 was not a difficult one but our spinners did well to bowl out Uganda,” Dias said. Super-sub Sashi Keshari took three, Ratan Rauniyar two and Basanta Regmi one wicket.

Nepali team was equally sharp on the field affecting three run-outs. Mahesh Chhetri did marvellous job behind the stumps causing four stumpings.

Uganda had an explosive run chase but were succumbed to 132 runs in 44.3 overs.

Nepali pacemen Amrit Bhattarai and Bantu Bataju had hardly troubled the Uganga batsmen as they were scoring freely until Raj was introduced in the eighth over. Even vice-captain Paras Khadka switched himself as a spinner despite bowling two overs medium pace. Uganga batsmen who had made 47 runs in seven overs could not add 19 runs by the end of the 20th over.

Malla said that he played patiently after the top-order collapse. “Mahesh and Basanta gave me support at the other end,” he said. He, however, credited the win to the tight bowling of the spinners.

Expressing happiness over the win, Basanta said that he felt good after contributing some runs for the team. Skipper Kaniska Chaugain also praised spinners and middle-order batsmen.