KATHMANDU, July 17: Nepal's U-19 cricket team has made a wining start to the ICC U-19 World Cup Division-1 Asia Qualifiers registering four wickets win over Singapore on Monday. In other match of the day, Afghanistan defeated Malaysia by eight wickets.
The Nepali youth team's skipper Sandeep Lamichhane's decision to bowl first after winning the toss paid off as the winning team's bowlers limited Singapore for a low total of 73 runs in 29 overs. In reply, Nepal raced to 77-6 in 17.3 overs.
Despite the win, Nepal's coach Binod Das wasn't fully satisfied with the performance of his players. “Today, our bowling and fielding were top class but the batting was poor. We didn't bat in the way we should have,” said coach Das. “Although the pitch was little difficult to bat, our batsmen should have scored more,” he added.
He also said that his batsmen were overconfident, adding that they played many cheap shots only to get dismissed for low runs.
“During the practice matches in India, the pitch was batting-friendly and players had scored great runs there. So, they got carried away and tried to play in a similar way. But here, the pitch wasn't the same,” added Das.
Sandeep himself was the pick of the Nepali bowlers as he pocketed 5 wickets giving away 21 runs in eight overs while he was supported by Shahab Alam who claimed three wickets. Likewise, Kishore Mahato added two wickets for Nepal.
Sean Agrawal and Brigu Iyer were the only two batsmen to touch double digit for Singapore. Opener Sean scored 11 runs before getting dismissed in Sandeep's delivery while Brigu stroked highest 42 runs hitting one six and six boundaries facing 39 balls. Brigu was sent to the pavilion in Kishore Mahato's delivery.
Singapore's middle-order batsmen Janak Prakash and Aryaman Sunil were out for ducks in Sandeep's deliveries while Sidhant (4) also was dismissed cheaply by the Nepali skipper.
To demolish Singapore's innings, Shahab Alam sent Yuvraj Singh (2), Bikram Bir Biswaray (3) and Aahan Gopinath Achar (2) to the pavilion.
Nepal couldn't make a solid start to its innings as it lost its openers cheaply. Openers Sandeep Sunar (1) and Assif Sheikh (4) were sent to pavilion by Aryanman Sunil. Pranit Thapa Magar who came to bat in number three tried to lay the foundation for Nepal stroking the highest 23 runs off 26 balls for the team. His innings included three boundaries. He built up a 22-run partnership with Dipendra Singh Airee. Likewise, Anil Sah made 19 runs with the help of three boundaries facing 22 balls. Unbeaten Rohit Kumar Paudel and Pawan Pawan Saraf contributed four and seven runs respectively.
Singapore's Aryaman Sunil pocketed 2-14 in four overs while Aahan Gopinath also claimed equal number of wickets spending nine runs. Likewise, Rohan Rangarajan and Ansh Bhargava claimed one wicket each.
After the first day matches, Afghanistan is in the first position with two points. Despite having equal points, Nepal sits in the second position on the basis of run rate.
Now, Nepal will face Malaysia in its second match on Tuesday while in other match of the day Afghanistan will take on home team Singapore. All the participating teams will have to play twice against the same team in the competition that is being held in double round league system. The team with highest points among Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and Afghanistan will qualify for the final round of the U-19 world cup to be held in New Zealand next year.