Nepal thrash Malaysia, to face Hong Kong in title showdown

Kathmandu, September 16

Nepal  thrashed hosts Malaysia by 10 wickets and advanced to the final of the  ACC U-19 Eastern Regional Tournament at the Club Aman in Kuala Lumpur  today.

Nepal will face Hong Kong in Sunday’s final  match. In day’s another semi-final match, Hong Kong defeated Singapore  by seven wickets. The winners of the tournament will qualify for the ACC U-19  Asia Cup to be held in Malaysia in November.

Invited to take the first strike, Malaysia were bowled out for 121 runs in 42 overs before Nepal raced to 125 without losing a wicket in 23.1 overs. Skipper  Dipendra Singh Airee’s five-wicket haul was instrumental in Nepal’s  fourth consecutive victory in the tournament.

Nepal had defeated  Thailand, Bhutan and Singapore in their league round matches before  facing Malaysia in the semi-final.

Airee’s decision to field first  paid off. Rohit Kumar Poudel made the breakthrough after he had Syed Aziz Syed  Mubarak (five) caught by Asif Sheikh in the fifth ball of the sixth  over with 15 runs on the board.

Nalin De Silva, who  top scored with 39 runs off 93 balls, added 49 runs with skipper  Virandeep Jagjit Singh (25 off 41) for the second wicket. Silva hit four boundaries and a six, while Singh cracked  four boundaries.

Airee broke the crucial stand dismissing Singh in the 23rd over before the hosts lost eight wickets for just 57 runs. Ammar Zuhdi Hazalan (14) and Mohamad Shahriel Azat Mohd (16) scored in double figures for Malaysia.

Airee returned with the figures of 5-29 from eight overs, while  Pawan Sarraf claimed 2-11 from four overs. Rohit Kumar Poudel, Shahab Alam  and Sandeep Lamichhane took one wicket apiece.

In reply, Nepal completed the target comfortably as openers Sandeep Sunar and Asif Sheikh shared an unbeaten 125-run partnership. Sunar scored 51 off 77 balls with the help of eight boundaries, while Sheikh cracked eight boundaries and a six in his 65-ball 50.

Skipper Airee said he was happy to get into the final. “The players batted confidently and it was a morale booster for other batsmen as well,” said Airee. “We had a plan to bowl out them for a low score and the bowlers did the job. And the most  important part of the match was that we did not lose wicket like in the previous matches,” said Airee.

The skipper said the team would follow the  same approach in final. “We are in good shape at the moment. The batsmen were not  fully confident in previous matches but today all the members of the team performed as per the plan. And we will try to do the same in the final,” the skipper said.