Nepal open ACC U-19 Asia Cup campaign with lossDev Khanal’s side suffer a seven-wicket defeat against Pakistan. Holders India beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in another Group A match.
Nepal national U-19 cricket team lost their opening match of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup to Pakistan by seven wickets at the ICC Academy Oval-2 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on Friday.
Pakistan’s Azan Awais and wicket keeper and captain Saad Baig scored half centuries to help their side comfortably chase down a target of 153 with 142 balls remaining.
Nepal, invited to bat first after losing the toss, were bundled out for 152 in 47.2 overs following a batting debacle that was triggered by a fiery spell from towering Pakistan paceman Mohammad Zeeshan who returned the match figures of 6-19 to record the second-best bowling figures for Pakistan U-19 in youth one-day internationals. Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 6-15 against Ireland in July, 2018 remains the best figure by a Pakistani bowler at U-19 level.
Amir Hassan, who took 2-15, struck early, removing opener Tilak Bhandari for seven in the third over before Ubaid Shah trapped Aakash Tirpathi leg before in the eighth over.
Nepal were already in big trouble at 46-5 in the 17th over, with Zeeshan striking twice to remove captain Dev Khanal for a duck with his fourth ball in the 12th over and Bhandari’s opening partner Arjun Kumal for 21 in the 16th over.
Nepal senior team regular Gulsan Jha failed to impress with the bat after being bowled out by Ali Asfand (1-43) for 1 in the 17th over.
Uttam Thapa Magar hit 51 runs off 76 balls and Dipesh Kandel made 31 runs facing 59 deliveries in their 68-run partnership to steady the ship. Thapa Magar hit three boundaries and two maximums.
But Zeeshan returned to break their stand dismissing Kandel in the 34th over before polishing off the tail, sending back Bishal Bikram KC (1), Bipin Rawal (0) and Aakash Chand (5).
In reply, Nepal took two early wickets with the help of Jha, who caught and bowled Shamyl Hussain in the third ball of the first over and had Shahzaib Khan caught by Kandel.
But Awais and Baig resisted the Nepali bowlers to make short work of the target.
Awais played an unbeaten 56 runs off 62 balls and Biag hit 50 off 56 balls to put on a 108-run stand to take Pakistan close to victory.
After Biag fell to Tripathi in the 25th over—caught by Subash Bhandari, Zeeshan (not out 20 off eight balls) hit two fours off Jha before wrapping up the victory with a stylish six.
Record eight-time champions India also made a flying start to their U-19 Asia Cup campaign with a seven-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the other Group A match.
India, after electing to field first, bowled out Afghanistan for 173 after Raj Limbani and Arshin Kulkarni took three wickets each.
Afghanistan opener Jamshid Zadran top scored for his team with 43 runs off 75 balls.
In the run chase, Kulkarni cracked an unbeaten 70 runs off 105 balls and Musheer Khan made not out 48 to guide India to 174-3.
India have won eight of the nine editions of the U-19 50-over tournament since its inaugural edition in 1989.
Hosts UAE take on Bangladesh and Japan face Sri Lanka in the Group B fixtures on Saturday.
The top two teams from each group will progress to semi-finals.
Nepal next face Afghanistan on Sunday before concluding their group campaign against India on Tuesday.