Nepal cruise into quarter-finals

  • Sandeep Lamichhane takes a hat-trick in 8-wicket win over Ireland
  • u-19 world cup cricket
- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu

Jan 31, 2016-

Sandeep Lamichhane took the first hat-trick for Nepal in their 16-year U-19 World Cup history to propel the team into the quarter-finals of the tournament in Bangladesh on Saturday. 

Playing only in his second competitive match, the 16-year-old Nawalparasi lad returned with a five-wicket haul giving away just 27 runs in his 10 overs as Nepal followed up a stunning victory over New Zealand with a convincing 8-wicket win against Ireland. In a Group ‘D’ match held at Fatullah, Nepal restricted Ireland to 131-9 in 50 overs before Yogendra Karki made an unbeaten 61 runs off 81 balls to canter Nepal home losing two wickets in 25.3 overs. 

Nepal followed India into the tournament quarter-finals and will play the South Asian rivals on Monday to decide the group winners. It will be Nepal’s first ever appearance in the knockout stages of the U-19 World Cup, although they had progressed from the group stage in 2000. Nepal had made it to the Super 8 after a win over Kenya and sharing points with Pakistan and Australia in the rain affected matches played under round-robin league format.

Lamichhane stole the limelight with his treble in the 32nd over of the match. He had Lorcan Tucker caught by Dipendra Airee in the fourth ball before Adam Dennison nicked a catch to wicket-keeping captain Raju Rijal. And he completed the hat-trick, uprooting the stumps of Fiachra Tucker. Drafted into the U-19 closed-camp, Lamichhane seized the opportunity—becoming the leading wicket taker in U-19 Super League tournament—to secure his place in the World Cup rooster. 

Lamichhane played down his personal feat and was more keen to talks about the team’s qualification into the next round. 

“What was more important than the hat-trick was that we won an important game and qualified for the quarter-finals. I hope we can carry this momentum into other matches,” Lamichhane told the International Cricket Council. 

Former national team skipper Binod Das was on hand to celebrate Nepal’s double delight—Lamichhane’s hat-trick coupled with the team’s rare entry into the quarter-finals. 

Das was the captain of the U-19 side that had reached the Super 8 in 2000.  On Saturday he was celebrating the team’s victory from the dug out as bowling coach. “It feels really great to be in the quarters. We were a little lucky then (in 2000) as we had won one match and got into Super 8 after two other matches were washed out. But this time, the boys have proved that they are here to play,” Das told the Post from Bangladesh. 

“The boys have shown a lot of character. I still feel we had more talented players in the age group in the past, but what separate these boys is the discipline they have shown on the field. It has been outstanding,” he said, appreciating the hat-trick hero. 

“Sandeep is a great asset to any team. His outstanding control and variation is always a threat to opponents. He has progressed well but it’s still early days for him at this level. He has long future ahead in cricket,” he added.

Published: 31-01-2016 08:38

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