Nepal favourite to qualify for semi-finals

KATHMANDU: Nepal look set to make it to the ACC U-16 Elite Cup semi-finals ahead of their last Group B match against Bahrain at the Birendra Sainik Awasiya Mahavidhyalaya grounds on Thursday.

The home team lead their Group with two wins out of two matches. Hong Kong occupy the second position on better net run rate than Bahrain. To the advantage of the home team, they also have superior run rate but coach Roy Luke Dias would hardly take any chances against Bahrain after what he experienced with the senior side at the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division-V Tournament.

The senior team won four successive matches but were almost denied the qualification to the Division-IV on run rate after losing the last league match against the USA. Nepal pipped Singapore,

who recorded a huge win over Jersey, only with 0.004 difference in the net run rate.

By far allrounder Nischal Pandey have been a star player for the home team. His performances have earned him the man-of-the-match award in Nepal’s victory. Nepal’s Sri Lankan coach Dias would be hoping the allrounder to continue with the same form. Nischal claimed 4-6 to help Nepal beat Hong Kong by six wickets in the first match while the left-arm offspinner excelled his performance taking 5-15 and hitting 58 runs to set up 101-run win over Kuwait in the second match on Tuesday.

Relying solely on Nischal’s allround performance would be fatal but Dipendra Chand, Sharad Khadka have shown they ability to bat and Sushan Bhari Shrestha and Bibek Chaudhary with the ball. Dipendra scored unbeaten 38 and Sushan took three wickets against Hong Kong while Sharad struck 33 and Bibek claimed three wickets against Kuwait. However, skipper Switchan Shah’s failure with the bat and bowl is a real concern for the team.