Dipendra Singh Airee (R) of Nepal receives the man-of-the-match award after their match against Sri Lanka during the ACC U-19 Asia Cup in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Thursday. (Photo Courtesy: Raman Shiwakoti/Cricket Nepal)
KATHMANDU, Dec 16: Nepal suffered a one-run defeat against host Sri Lanka after it failed to hold its nerve in the last over of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup during their opening match in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Thursday.
Nepal required two runs from the last four balls of the innings but it lost the last wicket in the next ball after the highest scorer Dipendra Singh Airee was trapped leg before. The man-of-the-match Dipendra's 90 runs was not sufficient for Nepal to earn its first ever win over a Test-playing nation despite inching close to its target.
Earlier, Sri Lanka scored a challenging total of 227 runs for the loss of eight wickets in the 50-over game after being invited to bat first at the Nondescripts Cricket Club Ground in Colombo. In the run chase, Nepal was bowled out for 226 runs.
Despite making a shaky start in the run chase, strong resistance from middle order made the home team sweat until the last over. Nepal lost its openers Sandeep Sunar (2 runs) and Aasif Sheikh (1 run) too cheaply and was tottering at 3/32 in 9.2 overs after Bhim Sarki (8) was sent back to the pavilion.
Nepal's number three batsman Adil Khan (39 runs off 69 balls) played a 45-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Dipendra Airee before he was trapped leg before by Kamindu Mendis.
Dipendra who came as the fifth batsman led Nepal's fightback cracking 90 runs off 99 balls. The right handed batsman hit nine fences and a six and also became the highest scorer of the match. He played 84 runs stand for the sixth wicket with Avinash Karn, the second highest scorer for Nepal, which hit 40 runs off 64 balls. Avinash hit three boundaries and a six before he was caught by Ashen Bandara off skipper Mendis.
Dipendra, however, failed to get strong support from the other end as Prakash KC (14 runs) was the other batsman to add double digit figure. Pawan Sarraf was out for a duck while Kamal Singh contributed nine runs and skipper Sandip Lamichhane scored one run.
Sri Lanka skipper Mendis was the highest wicket take with three wickets under his scalp in his eight-over spell conceding 37 runs.
Earlier, Sri Lanka's number three batsman Hasitha Boyagoda scored 83 runs off 106 balls before he was run out by wicketkeeper Prakash KC. Ashen Bandara (48 runs off 47 balls), Krishna Arachchige (28 runs off 47 balls) and opener Reven Kelly (19 runs 37 balls) were the notable contributors for Sri Lanka.
Nepal's Kamal claimed three wickets in his eight-over spell giving away 42 runs while Pawan pocketed two wickets. He conceded 27 runs in his six-over bowling.
Nepal will take on another Test nation India in its next group match on Friday.