Sharad powers Nepal to victory

Colombo, February 9:

Sarad Vesawkar’s unbeaten 82 runs helped Nepal register a thumping 60-run win over Ireland in the ICC Under-19 World Cup match here at the NCC today. Both the teams are already out of the Super League and the game was just a formality to decide the third place.

Put in to bat first, Nepal scored 234/8 in the allotted 50 overs. In reply, Ireland was packed up on 174 in 45.3 overs, thanks to the disciplined bowling of the Nepali spinners.

Nepal made their highest total of the tournament so far with Sharad Vesawkar making an unbeaten 82 off 115 balls and useful contributions from Paras Khadra (47) and skipper Kanishka Chaugain (40).

This meeting could easily have been a contest to decide a Super League place had Ireland managed to hold their nerve against England on Wednesday and Nepal done likewise against Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

Nepal, at one stage, were 188-4 and looked set for an even more substantial score but Ireland pulled them back into the match. It was, however, Nepal’s superb recovery from 99-3 from 22.1 overs.

Skipper Kaniska Chaugain once again led the team with a quick fire 40 off 36 deliveries including five hits to the fence and a six.

He and fellow opener Mahesh Chhetri added 54 runs for the first wicket, but once they were dismissed in quick succession to Gary Kidd (2-32), Ireland were back into the match. Vesawkar’s 82 runs included four boundaries and a six. He added 89 runs for the fourth wicket with vice captain Paras Khadka, who struck four fours from 65 balls.

For Ireland, opening bowler Niall McDarby, who finished 6-50 against England on Wednesday, claimed three wickets conceding 43 runs from nine overs. James Hall and Neil Giltook took one each.

Ireland had terrible start chasing the total as Bantu Bataju, who was included in the squad for the first time, dismissed opener R Stirling in the second over with seven runs on the board.

F McAllister and E Morgan threated the Nepali side putting on 45 runs partnership until Ratan Rauniyar dismissed McAllister (14) in 15.5 overs. But as soon as the dangerman Morgan was dismissed, Ireland’s wickets started to crumble and were finally bowed out to 174.

With seven hits to the fence and two sixes, skipper Morgan made 86 off 107 balls before being stumped off Shashi Keshari ball. At one stage, Ireland was cruising towards victory with 145/4 in 36.3 overs but lost next six wickets for 29 runs.

Nepal once again proved their bowling prowess. Ratan Rauniyar and Keshari, who came in place of skipper Chaugain as super sub, took two wickets each while Bantu Bataju, Paras Khadka, Raj Shrestha and Basanta Regmi picked one each. Nepal also effected two run outs.

Expressing delight over the team’s victory, man of the match Vesawkar said that they were good in all department on Thursday. “Initially, I was struggling but as runs started to come, I played freely,” he said adding that Paras complemented him well at the other end.

Vice captain Khadka said that they dominated more in bowling and fielding than batting. “I could not complete half century but that does not matter as long as the team wins.”

Ireland skipper Morgan said that Nepali spinners’ strict bowling attack was the cause of his team’s defeat.

Expressing that the win would boost his team’s confidence in the Plate Championship, Nepal’s coach Roy Luke Dias praised his players’ better show especially of Vesawkar, Paras and Kanishka. Dias, however, was disappointed over the poor form of Gyanendra Malla.