Nepal romp into quarter-finals

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 31, 2016-

Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane completed a five-wicket haul, including a hat-trick, to help Nepal record an emphatic eight-wicket win over Ireland and a place in the quarter-finals of the ICC U-19 World Cup in Fatullah, Bangladesh on Saturday.

The second successive win meant Nepal qualified for the last eight from Group ‘D’ along with India, who stand atop the standing after defeating New Zealand by 120 runs in the day’s another game. Monday’s game between Nepal and India will decide the group winners.  Nepal opened their campaign with a stunning 32-run win over New Zealand on Friday.

Electing to bat first, Ireland were restricted to 131-9 in 50 overs thanks to a fiery spell from Lamichhane. Nepal completed the chase for the loss  of two wickets in 25.3 overs with Yogendra Singh Karki scoring an unbeaten half century.

Ireland made a composed start as openers Jack Tector (27) and Stephen  Doheny (14) put on 39 runs for the first wicket. Sunil Dhamala gave Nepal a breakthrough with a wicket of Doheny in the 15th over. Ireland had added just three runs when they lost Tector to Sushul Kandel in the 18th over to  be 42-2.

Worst was to follow as Lamichhane stepped in to claim the next five wickets to reduce Ireland to 83-7. Lamichanne achieved a rare feat of taking a hat-trick when he dismissed Lorcan Tucker, Adam Dennison and Fiachra Tucker in successive balls in the 32nd over. He had Lorcan caught by Dipendra Airee at mid wicket in the fourth ball of the over, dismissed  Dennison in the next delivery before uprooting the wickets of Fiachra in the last ball. 

Airee claimed the next two wickets but a dogged 30-run unbeaten knock from Harry Tector ensured Ireland cross the triple figures. Tector hit just one boundary in his 54-ball innings. Man-of-the-match Lamichhane finished with figures of 5-27 from 10 overs, while Airee took 2-18 from seven overs.

Nepal made a worst possible start to their run chase as they lost opener  Sandeep Sunar in the first ball of their innings, trapped leg before wicket by Joshua Little. But Karki and Dhamala put on a 55-run stand for the second wicket to put Nepal on course for victory. Dhamala fell to Gary  McClintock after scoring 28 runs that included four boundaries and a six.

Aarif Sheikh joined Karki in the middle and the two batsmen put on an unbroken 77-run third wicket partnership to steer their team home with more than 24 overs to spare. Karki remained unbeaten on 61 runs, his 81-ball knock included eight hits to the fence. Sheikh scored run-a-ball 31 with five boundaries.

Speaking to the e International Cricket Council,  Nepal skipper Raju Rijal said qualifying for the quarter-finals meant a lot to his country. “I am sure there will be a lot of celebrations back home because cricket is very popular in our country,” said Rijal. “Performances like these will inspire more people to play the game in Nepal. The team spirit is very good and we enjoy each other’s success. The target now is to get past the quarter-finals also.”

Published: 31-01-2016 10:08

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