Nepal win third place playoff

KATHMANDU:Nepal finished third at the ACC U-19 Elite Cup after defeating Qatar by seven wickets in the third-place playoff in Kuwait on Thursday.

It is a consolation win for the four-time champions who crashed out of the tournament with a six-wicket defeat at the hands of Afghanistan in the semi-final on Wednesday. The failure to make it to the final had cost the four-time defending champions one of the two berths for the ICC U-19 World Cup qualifiers. It is the first occasion Nepal have failed to make it to the U-19 World Cup in 10 years.

At the Hubara grounds, Nepal restricted Qatar to 142 in 43 overs and surpassed the total losing three wickets in 37.1 overs.

Opener Minhas Khais was the only contributer in Qatari innings, scoring 50 off 82 including five fours and a six. Taha Mohammed chipped in 14. Alrounder Prithu Banskota was the pick of the Nepali bowlers with 3-24 from seven overs. Sagar Khadka (2-23) and Chandra Saud (2-17) bagged two wickets apiece while skipper Gyanendra Malla and Lal Bahadur Adhikari took one apiece.

Nepal had a composed run chase reaching 36 by the ninth over. But they lost openers Sunny Pun (11) and Anil Mandal (22) at the same score within the space of six balls. However, Prithu and skipper Malla put on 68 runs for the third wicket to lead Nepal past 100-mark. Prithu struck three fours in his 74-ball 27. After his dismissal in the 30th, over, man of the match Malla and Subash Pradhan (six not out) saw their team home. Malla remained unbeaten on 67, hitting 10 fours in his 79-ball knock. Tamoor Sajjad, Ali Ishtiaq and Faraz Ahmed claimed one wicket each.

Nepal’s Sri Lankan coach Roy Luke Dias expressed dissapointment over the defending champions’ third-place finish. “It’s just a consolation win,” said Dais. “Only Gyanendra and Prithu performed with the bat as well as the ball. Seniors batsmen failed to perform,” he said. Skipper Malla said it was a sad end. “We are no more the same bowling and fielding side that we were once. Our strike bowlers like Amrit and Lal Bahadur were a real disappoitment, leaving Sagar, Prithu, Anil and myself to do the job against the well prepared oppositions.” The Nepali team is scheduled to return home on May 3.