Nepal’s ACC U-19 Asia Cup semi hopes all but overDev Khanal’s men lose against Afghanistan by 73 runs in what was a second defeat in as many matches.
Nepal crashed to a 73-run defeat against Afghanistan in their ACC U-19 Asia Cup match at the ICC Academy Oval 2 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Sunday.
The outcome means Nepal’s chances of progressing into the semi-finals are now highly unlikely.
For Nepal, who were chasing 262, opener Arjun Kumal scored 91 runs off 108 balls but with no substantial support from the other wicket, they could only muster 188 all out in 40.1 overs.
Kumal’s commendable innings featured 13 hits to the boundaries.
For Afghanistan, Faridoon Dawoodzai took 3-31 and Naseer Khan Maroofkhil 3-33 to expose Nepali youth team’s batting woes in Dubai.
Captain Dev Khanal’s score of 24 runs off 37 balls was the second highest of the Nepali innings.
Nepal made a good recovery after Kumal’s opening partner Bipin Rawal fell to Dawoodzai for a duck in the first over. Nepal’s steady performance lasted until the seventh over when Deepak Bohara departed after adding 15, caught by Numan Shah off Dawoodzai.
It looked like Nepal were on track with captain Khanal offering support to Kumal to take the team to 68-2 in 15 overs but Khalel Ahmad halted the progress dismissing the captain in the 16th over.
Uttam Magar, who scored a half-century against Pakistan, soon left after Maroofkhil trapped him leg before wicket for four runs.
Although Kumal kept on the hunt, Aakash Tripathi (0), Gulsan Jha (17), Dipesh Kandel (11), Subash Bhandari (8) and Hemanta Dhami (0) could not last long on the crease.
When Bhandari was out stumped by Maroofkhil in the 38th over, Kumal was nearing his century but Wahidullah Zadran cleared Dhami the next over and Dawoodzai shattered Kumal’s century hopes forcing an edge.
Kumal’s 91 was the highest score against a Test nation in the U-19 format, besting Dipendra Singh Airee’s 90 against Sri Lanka during the 2016 U-19 Asia Cup.
Mohammad Younus took two wickets for Afghanistan.
Earlier, sent in to bat first after losing the toss, Afghanistan’s Jamshid Zadran cracked a century and Numan Shah smashed a half-century to take the team to 261.
Zadran’s 106 off 152 balls included eight fours. Shah hit five fours and three sixes in his 41-ball 60.
Afghanistan had a slow start to their innings, losing openers Khalid Taniwal for 17 and Wafiullah Tarakhil for 15.
But Zadran coupled with Rahimullah Zurmati, who played 65-ball 35, for an 81-run stand before putting on a 97-run partnership with Numan Shah to guide Afghanistan to a respectable total.
Bhandari, Hemant Dhami and Gulsan Jha picked two wickets each for Nepal. Jha had also taken two wickets in Nepal’s opening match against Pakistan.
A second loss in as many games means Nepal lie at the bottom of Group A.
In the day’s other action, Pakistan defeated India by eight wickets to register their second victory and solidify their position at the top of Group A standings, after Azan Awais struck a century.
The left-hander—who was not out on 55 against Nepal—hit 105 not out and played a century partnership with Saad Baig, who played an unbeaten knock of 68 runs, to chase down 260 after opener Shahzaib Khan hit 63 to lay the foundation of Pakistan innings.
Mohammed Zeeshan, who had taken six wickets against Nepal, shone with the ball again, claiming four Indian wickets.
Earlier, sent in to bat first, Adarsh Singh (62 off 81), Uday Saharan (60 off 98) and Sachin Dhas (58 off 42 balls) scored half-centuries to guide India to a competitive 259-9 in 50 overs.
India are second and Afghanistan sit in the third position.
Nepal meet India and Afghanistan take on Pakistan on Tuesday.