ACC U-19 asia cup: Nepal through to first semi-final
- Rout Malaysia by 8 wickets in final league game
- Finish second in Group ‘A’ to set up Afghanistan clash
Nov 15, 2017-Nepal sealed a maiden semi-final spot in the ACC U-19 Asia Cup after a crushing eight-wicket win over hosts Malaysia combined with a Bangladeshi win over India in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.
A five-wicket haul from leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane helped Nepal dismiss Malaysia for 45 runs in 15.3 overs in a match reduced to 24-over-a-side due to rain. Nepal reached the target in just 5.2 overs for the loss of two wickets. The victory saw Nepal climb to second spot but needed to wait for another Group ‘A’ match between India and Bangladesh to confirm their semi-final fate.
Bangladesh then produced another upset in the game brushing aside three-time champions India by eight wickets that helped Nepal go through as group runners-up. Bangladesh finished pool winners after their third consecutive victory fetched themselves six points. Nepal, who had narrowly lost to Bangladesh, ended up with four points from three games.
India made a shock first round exit having lost to Nepal and Bangladesh after their high-flying 202-run victory over Malaysia in the tournament opener. Malaysia ended their campaign winless. In the semi-final match, Nepal will meet Group ‘B’ winners Afghanistan on Friday, a day after Bangladesh play Pakistan.
With most of the day washed out due to rain, Nepal needed a huge margin win keeping in mind a possible equation of three-way tie in the points table. After electing to field first in a rain-shortened game, spinners set them on course despite the hosts racing to 33 without loss after the fifth over.
Anil Sah came in the sixth over and once he removed Malaysia skipper Virandeep Singh, the hosts completely collapsed. Dipendra Singh Airee put Malaysia under pressure picking up two wickets in a single over including that of their highest scorer and opener Syed Aziz. Syed made 20 off 21 with a six and a four.
Lamichhane then continued to strike at regular intervals and was ably supported by Sahab Alam as Malaysia lost 10 wickets for just of 12 runs. Lamichhane returned with the figures of 5-8 from 4.3 overs. He is now the third highest wicket-taker in the tournament with eight scalps. Alam took 2-3 from three overs.
Nepal coach Binod Das said it was a tricky situation to be in. “The situation was tricky today but we made it as per the plan. The start did not go well with the ball, but once the spinners came in we dominated. In batting, we had plans to attack from start and Anil batted well,” said Das who had sent Sah to open the innings with Aasif Sheikh and it worked.
Sah hit three sixes in his 15-ball 26 to rocket Nepal’s chase. Skipper Airee wasted no time smashing back-to-back sixes after he stepped in to finish the game early. Vijay Unni picked up two wickets for Malaysia. Das expected a tough semi-final against the Afghanistan. “They (Afghanistan) have downed big teams with great performances. They know us quite well and must be aware that we will fight till the last ball. We will do our best against them,” said the Nepal coach. In the last two meetings between the two teams in the ICC U-19 World Cup Global Qualifiers in Singapore in July, Nepal had surrendered to Afghanistan losing a spot for next year’s World Cup.
Nepal 48-2 in 5.2 overs (AK Sah 26*, DS Airee 12; V Unni 2-17) beat Malaysia 45 all out in 15.3 overs (S Mubarak 20, V Singh 10; S Lamichhane 5-8, DS Airee 2-1, S Alam 2-3) by eight wickets
Man-of-the-match: S Lamichhane
Team M W L NR NRR Pts
Bangladesh 3 3 0 0 2.377 6
Nepal 3 2 1 0 0.889 4
India 3 1 2 0 1.257 2
Malaysia 3 0 3 0 -4.757 0
Afghanistan 3 2 1 0 2.853 4
Pakistan 3 2 1 0 1.24 4
Sri Lanka 3 2 1 0 0.988 4
UAE 3 0 3 0 -4.171 0
Published: 15-11-2017 08:48