Rijal leads Nepal to upset win

  • Defeat Test-nation New Zealand by 32 runs after posting 238-7; Play Ireland in next Group ‘D’ match on Saturday
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 29, 2016-

Nepal pulled off the first upset of the ICC U-19 World Cup with a 32-run  win over New Zealand during their Group ‘D’ match at the Khan Shaheb Osman  Ali Stadium in Fatullah, Bangladesh on Thursday.

In a replay of the 2006 Plate Championship Final, Nepal scored 238-7 in 50  overs, their best ever total in seven U-19 World Cup outings. Nepal’s  previous best score was 234 runs, which they made against Ireland during  the 2006 tournament in Sri Lanka. In reply, the junior team from the  Test-playing nation were all out for 206 runs in 47.1 overs.

Nepal coach Jagat Tamatta said that his side fell 10-15 runs short but  still pulled off a huge win. “Our boys excelled in all three  departments: batting, bowling and fielding,” said Tamatta adding that he  had been harbouring hopes of upsetting the Kiwis after seeing them  struggle for runs in practice matches. Skipper Raju Rijal held together the Nepali innings with an elegant 48  runs, while opener Sandeep Sunar (39), Aarif Sheikh (39), Kushal Bhurtel  (35 not out) and Rajbir Singh (24) all contributed invaluable runs to the  total.

 Openers Sunar and Sunil Dhamala (15) gave a decent start with a 39-run  stand but Nepal lost two wickets in the space of 11 runs to be 50-2 by the 12th  over. Sunar hit three fours and a six in his patient 60-ball innings. After Sunar lost his wicket, Rijal and Aarif Sheikh steadied the Nepali ship putting on a crucial 61-run stand for the fourth wicket. Rijal fell  two runs short of his half century after hitting six fours in his composed  65-ball knock. Aarif took the baton from his skipper to add another 47  runs with Rajbir Singh.

Both Sheikh and Singh lost their wickets in quick succession as Nepal were  down to 180-6 but a quick-fire 40-run partnership between Bhurtel and Dipendra  Airee (16) ensured Nepal put on a decent total. Bhurtel struck five fours in his 23-ball unbeaten cameo. Nathan Smith was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with 3-58 off 10 overs.

New Zealand’s run chase was jolted by the loss of two early wickets of Rachin Ravindra (4) and Finn Allen (11) but Glenn Phillips (52) and skipper Josh Finnie (37) appeared to bring their team back into the game. However, a disciplined Nepali bowling combined with a sharp fielding, which yielded three run outs, saw New Zealand innings fold of 206 runs. 

Dale Phillips (41) briefly threatened to take his side across the finish line but his run out in the first ball of the 48th over ended their hopes. Phillips hit three fours in his fluent 50-ball knock. Airee polished off the New Zealand tail taking the last three wickets. Prem Tamang also grabbed two, while Dhamala and Sandeep Lamichhane claimed one each for Nepal.

“We have a lot to improve, especially by batsmen in the top order,” said Tamatta. “They are getting starts but are unable to convert those into big scores. Our target is to qualify for quarter-finals.”

Published: 29-01-2016 09:10

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