Kathmandu, January 26

Nepal national cricket team member Rohit Kumar Paudel became the youngest player to score half century in the limited-over format of the game when he achieved the feat against the United Arab Emirates in their second of the three-match ODI series in Dubai today.

Paudel, who was brought into the squad in place of Basant Regmi, reached the milestone in 55 balls when he scored two runs off Imran Haider in the 45th over.  Paudel achieved the feat at the age of 16 years and 146 days and that beat the likes of Indian legend Sachin Tendulakar and Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi.

Paudel — who was born in Nawalparasi on 2 September  2002 — was dismissed for 55 runs off 58 balls that included seven boundaries. Paudel, who came to the crease at a precarious position of 113-5, also shared an 82-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Aarif Sheikh to help Nepal post a fighting total. Paudel had made the ODI debut against Netherlands in Amstelveen on August 3 last year. He then played his second ODI against the UAE in Kuala Lumpur on August 30 during the Asia Cup qualifiers.

Afridi had scored his maiden international 50 at the age of 16 years and 217 days on his way to making the fastest century from 37 balls against Kenya in the Sameer Cup match in 1996, while Tendulkar was 17 years when he got his first fifty, against Sri Lanka at the Nehru Stadium in 1990, one year after making his national team debut.

The International Cricket Council took to twitter to congratulate Paudel posting a message along with a picture.

“At the age of just 16 years and 146 days, Nepal’s Rohit Paudel today became the youngest man to hit an international half-century, beating the likes of @sachin_rt and @SAfridiOfficial!” the ICC wrote.

Nepal posted 242-9 in 50 overs before packing the UAE for 97 to record a 145-run victory to level the three-match series at 1-1. Nepal had faced a three-wicket loss in the first match yesterday. The third and final match of the series is slated for Monday. The two teams will also play three-match T20 International series starting on January 31.