Nepal hammer Myanmar, top pool

Kathmandu, December 14

Skipper Rit Gautam scored an unbeaten century as Nepal hammered Myanmar by 337 runs in the last Group A match of the ACC U-16 Asia Region Cricket Tournament at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok today.

Batting first, Nepal posted 350-6 in their allotted 35 overs before packing Myanmar for a paltry 13 runs in 11.3 overs. Nepal, who had already advanced to the semi-finals, topped the group with three wins in as many matches. Hong Kong made it to the last four as runners-up after their nine-wicket victory over Thailand in another match.

Nepal will now face Group B runners-up Malaysia in the semi-final encounter on Friday, while Hong Kong will take on Group B winners Singapore. Malaysia thrashed Bhutan by 171 runs, while Singapore registered an eight-wicket win against China.

Gautam became the first Nepali cricketer to score a century in the history of U-16 tournament beating Dipendra Chand’s previous best score of 75 not out scored against Bahrain in 2012. The victory margin is the biggest in the age category and second biggest of all time.

Previously Nepal had defeated Maldives by 344 in the Youth Asia Cup in 2003 in Karachi. Myanmar’s total against Nepal is also the second lowest of all time. Nepal national team had skittled Myanmar out for 10 runs in the ACC Trophy match in 2006 before completing the victory in two balls.

After the completion of group stage, Nepali cricketers dominate the individual statistics. Trit Raj Das is the highest run getter with 130 runs, eight more that his skipper Gautam, while Narayan Joshi is the highest wicket taker with 10 scalps. Likewise, Pratis GC has the highest strike rate of 144.23, whereas Ajay Kumar Loniya has the best economy rate of one.

Nepal made a bright start with openers Kushal Malla and Suwash Ayer putting on 54 runs in 5.3 overs before the former was dismissed for 36 off just 23 balls hitting three each fours and sixes.

After the departure of Ayer, who scored 17 off 22 balls, Bishal Bikram KC and skipper Gautam added 69 runs for the third wicket to guide the team towards huge total. KC scored 42 off 32 balls hitting four boundaries. Gautam then shared a 99-run partnership with Trit Raj Das, who struck seven fours and three sixes in his 29-ball 64.

Myanmar claimed three quick wickets in the space of three balls but Gautam and Pratis GC added 112 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket. Gautam hammered 12 boundaries in his 78-ball knock, while GC remained unbeaten on 63 off just 31 balls that included 10 fours and a six.

Hein Htet Aung was the most successful bowler of Myanmar claiming three wickets but he was hammered for 74 runs in his seven-over spell. Kyaw Min Htay, Phyo Zin Oo and Aye Thiha Moe also took one wicket each.

In reply, Myanmar were never in contention. Narayan Joshi made the first breakthrough in the second over and Nepal never looked back. None of the Myanmar batsmen could score in double figures with Hein Htet Aung’s three runs being the highest score of the innings. Six batsmen even failed to open their accounts.

Joshi conceded just one run on his way to claiming four wickets from three overs, while Mekh Bahadur Sen Thapa took 4-4, also from three overs. Bishal Bikram KC claimed final wicket in the third ball of his first over.