KATHMANDU: Nepal defeated Malaysia by one wicket with 32 balls to spare in another thrilling encounter of ACC Youth Asia Cup, at Nondescripts Cricket Club Ground in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday.
Nepal finally registered a win in their group game in the dead rubber encounter after failing to winover Asian powerhouses Sri Lanka and India in their earlier games.
Earlier, Nepali skipper Sandeep Lamichhane had won the toss and invited Malaysia to bat first to offer Nepali bowlers to exploit the early seaming conditions of the Colombo pitch.
Nepali medium pacers Rohit Kumar Paudel and Dipendra Singh Airee did not disappoint their captain's decision as they both took a wicket a piece in their opening spell to jolt the Malaysian innings.
Malysian skipper Virandeep Singh steadied the ship and anchored the innings with a measured knock of 75 runs off 118 balls with seven hits to the boundary. Another batsman Muhammad Hasif made a brisk 21 off 19 deliveries with two cracking fours and a towering six at the cow corner.
He was the last man out after being trapped by Dipendra Singh Airee in the 45th over of the innings with 153 on the board.
Nepali bowlers bowled in tandem as the runs were hard to come by as the wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Eight Malaysian batsmen failed to score double-digit runs.
Aadil Khan was pick of the Nepali bowlers with a figure of 7-0-24-3.
Skipper Lamichanne and Dipendra Singh Airee both scalped two wickets each. Rohit Kumar Paudel and Shuvankar Urao chipped in with a wicket each.
Nepal's batting woes, however, continued as they lost opener Aasif Sheikh lbw to Muhammad Hafiz for one run in the 2nd over of the innings.
Nepal lost two quick wickets as Aadil Khan and Rabindra Shahi returned to the pavillion with 0 and 5 runs respectively.
Dipendra Singh Airee and opener Avinash Karn shared a 23-run partnership for the fourth wicket before Karn was caught by Arjoon Thilanathan at mid-wicket off Virandeep Singh delivery while trying to play a big shot. He had contributed 29 runs off 45 balls with four hits to the boundary while Airee made 22 off 25 balls with four cracking drives to the boundary.
After Airee's departure, Nepal had already lost half of their side with 80-5 in the board on the 19th over.
Malaysian bowlers bowled a tight line as Nepali batsmen were struggling to score runs at wills and lost three wickets for just 27 runs and were reeling at 107-8 in the 28th over with 47 more runs to win with two wickets in hand.
Anil Sah and Pawan Sarraf played sensibly to share a 38-run partnership for the ninth wicket before Sah fell while trying finish the game in hurry with only nine runs needed for victory.
He was caught at long on by Zubaidi Zulkifle off Syed Aziz delivery. Sah top-scored with 32 off 66 balls with two hits to boundary and a straight hit to boundary off the bolwer's head.
Captain Sandeep Lamichhane walked into the middle to join Pawan Sarraf with nine runs required to register the victory. They did not panic and played sensibly as they nudged singles and doubles to take Nepal over the line.
Earlier, Nepal had lost to Sri Lanka by one run in their opening game and was beaten by India by six wickets in their second game. They, thus, were unable to progress into the last fours.
The Group A winners India will take on Group B runners-up Afghanistan in their first semi-finals on December 21 whereas the other semi-finals will be between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka the following day.
Nepal to chase 154-run target posted by Malaysia
Rastriya Samachar Samiti
KATHMANDU: Nepal are to chase the 154-run target posted by Malaysia in the match underway of the Asian Cricket Council Youth Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, on Sunday.
Put into bat, Malaysia lost all its wickets in 44.4 overs and were restricted to 153 runs.
For Nepal, Adil Khan took three wickets while captain Sandip Lamichhane and Dipendra Singh Aiyer took two wickets apiece while Rohit Paudel and Suvankar Urao took one each.
(Posted at 1: 52 pm)