Kuala Lumpur, August 10:
Skipper Gyanendra Malla scored 42 runs and pace bowler Govinda Karki took four wickets as Nepal registered a 9-run victory over Malaysia and entered the semi-finals of the ACC Under-17 Asia Cup Cricket Tournament here today.
Nepal, runners-up in Group C, was scheduled to play Group B leaders Singapore in the quarter-finals, but the organising committee disqualified Group C leaders Afghanistan â€” who beat both Nepal and Brunein in the league-round matches â€” for fielding over-age players and Nepal finished on top of their Group resulting a quarter-final match against the hosts.
â€œWe had never thought that the inexperienced team would bring out such a surprising result,â€ said ecstatic coach Roy Dias after the match. â€œI am more than happy with the boysâ€™ hard work today. The win even escalated the senior teamâ€™s victory over the United Arab Emirates in a three-day match in Kathmandu,â€ he added.
Batting first after skipper Malla won the toss, Nepal posted a challenging 141 runs losing six wickets in their allotted 45 overs and restricted Malaysia to 132 runs.
Nepal were in trouble after losing three wickets for just 33 runs and further lost another at 65. Opener Rajan Khadgi scored 14 off 48 balls including a four, while other opener Avinash Shah was out for just seven runs. Batting at No 3, Bijay Bhattarai wasted 40 balls and departed without scoring, before Malla steered the innings. Malla hit three boundaries in his 81-ball 42.
Sunam Gautam scored 19 off 33 balls, while Nirmal Simangaida made an important contribution of 27 runs including two fours in his 43-ball innings. Nirjal Chhetri was out for just one run while Govinda Karki remained unbeaten on six.
For Malaysia, Mohd Kasman took three wickets conceding 29 runs in eight overs, while Aminyddin, Mohd Shahrulnizam and Mohd Elmi claimed one wicket each.
In reply, six Malaysian batsmen reached double figure mark but were 10 runs short of victory in front of home fans. Opener Mohammad Shafiq was trapped leg before by right-arm seamer Govinda for 15, while other opener Faris Almas Lee top-scored with 24 off 55 balls before falling to leg-spinner Sushant Thapa, who finished with 3-18 of nine overs.
Govinda Karki, who returned with the figures of 4-18 off 8.2 overs, earned the man of the match award. Right-arm medium pacer Nirmal Simangaida and off-spinner Sunam Gautam also got one wicket each.