Nepal rout China to enter ACC Eastern Region semisThe holders win by 10 wickets having bowled out China out for 53
Nepal cruised to the semi-finals of the ACC U-19 Eastern Region cricket tournament with a 10-wicket drubbing of China a the Kinrara Oval grounds in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
The defending champions’ passage to the last four was confirmed with the very first victory after China were eliminated from the three-team Group A. Nepal were originally schedule to open their campaign on Tuesday against Myanmar but the team pulled out at the last moment and the organisers rescheduled the fixtures.
The result also meant Singapore, who defeated China by eight wickets on Tuesday, joined Nepal in the semi-finals. Friday’s clash between Nepal and Singapore at the same venue will decide the pool winners. Only the winners of the Eastern Region Tournament will qualify for U-19 Asia Cup to be held in Sri Lanka on August 18-September 8 this year. Other teams in the U-19 Asia cup include host Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
Nepal skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel was happy to get a desired result. “This is a good start for us. The medium pace bowlers were not looking that consistent but the spinners did well. The openers, in reply, did really well to give an easy victory,” said Paudel.
Asked to bat first after Nepal won the toss, China were bundled out for a lowly 53 runs in 23.1 overs. China’s opener Guohao Gao and Liang Chen contributed almost half the team’s total, scoring 13 runs each as Sagar Dhakal ran through their wickets. Gao struck two boundaries in his 24-ball innings while Chen also hit two fours in his painstaking 43-ball stay in the pitch. None of the other China bowlers were able to score in double figures.
Dhakal returned with figures of 6-19 off 9.1 overs while Tilak Raj Bhandari claimed 3-15 off seven overs. Kamal Singh Airee also bagged a wicket for the defending champions. “Sagar has a huge amount of experience and Tilak also did well in his debut match,” said Paudel adding his team doesn’t want to overthink about Singapore clash.
“I don’t think we need to think much about our opponents. We just make sure that we don’t get overconfident and stick to our basics. We just have to give our best against them. We just have to follow our process. We have rested few players and are willing to give chances to everyone,” Paudel said.
Against the minnows, Nepal had rested experienced fast bowling allrounder Rashid Khan, U-16 skipper Bishal Bikram KC and Kushal Malla and it hardly mattered. Openers Pawan Sarraf and Rit Gautam added more salts to the Chinese wounds hurrying to victory target in just five overs. Sarraf gave a good batting lesson to the cricketing minnows clobbering six boundaries and three sixes in his unbeaten 21-ball 46.
Gautam remained unbeaten on run-a-ball 10. China opening bowling pair Tian Sen Qun and Zhuoyue Chen faced the brunt of Sarraf. Qun went for 33 runs in his three overs while Chen was hit for 16 in his only one over.