Kathmandu, July 5
Rit Gautam scored a magnificent century as Nepal thrashed Singapore by 217 runs in their Group A match of the ACC U-19 Eastern Region cricket tournament at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today.
Batting first, Nepal accumulated 326-4 in their allotted 50 overs before packing Singapore for 109 runs with 65 balls to spare. With the second consecutive victory in the three-team pool, Nepal topped the group with four points, two more than Singapore. The two sides had already earned semi-finals berths at the expense of China, who lost both the matches.
On Friday, Nepal made a bright start with openers Rit Gautam and Pawan Sarraf putting in 92 runs inside 15 overs. Sarraf was dismissed for 45 off 41 balls that included 10 boundaries. Gautam then combined with Khadak Bahadur Bohara to add 131 runs for the second wicket. Bohara struck 12 fours in his run-a-ball 90.
Nepal then lost Bishal Bikram KC (one) and skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel (seven) cheaply before Gautam and Kushal Malla took the team past 300-run mark with the 82-run partnership for the unbroken fifth wicket. Gautam remained unbeaten on 137-ball 115 that included 10 fours and a six, while Malla played a 23-ball cameo hitting four boundaries and five sixes in his 51 not out.
Gautam became the first Nepali cricketer to score centuries in U-16 and U-19 tournaments. He had scored an unbeaten 106 runs against Myanmar in the U-16 Eastern Region Tournament in 2017. Pranav Sudarshan Rajesh Krishnan (2-81) and Vinit Chittesh Mehta (2-56) shared four wickets between them for Singapore.
In reply, Singapore were never in contention as they lost wickets at regular interval and only three batsmen could score in double figures. Rashid Khan made the first breakthrough removing opener Sai Harsha Venugopal (one), caught by skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel in the third over. Sagar Dhakal reduced Singapore to 41-2 in the 15th over when he had Kannusami Satish (23) caught by Paudel.
Kushal Malla then struck twice in the space of four runs to Singapore under pressure at 45-4. Malla trapped Singapore skipper Vinit Chittesh Mehta (five) leg before the wicket in the 16th over before dismissing Yatish Arora (three) in his next over. Tilak Raj Bhandari had Vedant Chincholkar (naught) caught by Sagar Dhakal to make it 46-5 inside 19 overs. Singapore then lost the last five wickets for 59 runs.
Kushal Malla was the pick of the Nepali bowlers returning with the figures of 4-14 from nine overs. He was also involved in an incident after the on-field umpire allowed him to bowl seven balls in an over. Malla had dismissed Singapore’s top-scorer Hari Kukreja (30) in the last ball of the 36th over but umpires gave him the ball after Neil Anant Karnik took the guard. And Malla was quick enough to bowl Karnik out in the seventh ball of the over. Tilak Raj Bhandari claimed 2-9 from 5.1 overs, while Sagar Dhakal and Rashid Khan grabbed one wicket each. Centurion Rit Gautam was named the man of the match.
A version of this article appears in print on July 06, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.