KATHMANDU, July 25: Nepal’s dream of qualifying for the ICC U-19 World Cup has been shattered after facing 96 runs defeat at the hands of Afghanistan in its last match of the ICC U-19 World Cup Division-1 Asia Qualifiers on Tuesday.
Afghanistan qualified for the world cup to be held in New Zealand next year at the expense of Nepal, which had left for Singapore with the aim of sealing a spot for the world cup., Nepal wrapped up the qualifiers in second position behind Afghanistan.
The Nepali team accumulated eight points from six matches while unbeaten Afghanistan gathered 12 points from equal number of matches.
Throughout the qualifier which was held in double round robin league format, Nepal saw off Malaysia and Singapore while surrendered to Afghanistan in both occasions. Earlier, Nepal had suffered 141 runs defeat to Afghanistan in its third match of the qualifier.
Meanwhile, in the match played at the Indian Association Ground, Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat first before making a total of 195 runs in 46.5 overs. In reply, Nepal was packed for 99 runs in 40.3 overs.
Nepali batting, which has been a major problem from day one of the qualifiers, continued till the last match as Dipendra Singh Airee (48) was the only batsman to score significant runs. Likewise, Pawan Sarraf and Prakash KC made 10 runs each while none other batsmen touched double digits for the Nepali team. Dipendra smashed seven boundaries and a six facing 81 balls. Earlier, openers Sandeep Sunar and Asif Sheikh couldn’t give a positive start as they were dismissed for six and two runs respectively. Pranit Thapa Magar was out for a duck while other middle-order batsmen Anil Sah and Rohit Kumar Paudel were sent to the pavilion for just six and three runs respectively.
Yosuf Zazi claimed four wickets for the Afghan side to prevent Nepal from meeting the target while Mujeeb Rahman took three wickets. Likewise, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Shams Rahman and Tariq Stanikzan added one wicket each.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s opener Ibrahim Zadran scored a maiden hundred for his team in the tournament scoring 101 runs in 114 deliveries including five sixes and seven boundaries.
The next top score with the bat was 24 made by wicket-keeper Ikram Ali Khil. They added 74 runs for the fifth wicket. Afghanistan was 154 for five in 36 overs before losing the next six wickets for 41 runs.
Shahab Alam was the pick of the Nepali bowlers as he pocketed four wickets and he was supported by Dipendra Singh Airee who claimed three wickets. Likewise, Sandeep Lamichhane and Pawan Saraff added one wicket each.
Meanwhile, Nepali skipper Sandeep Lamichhane was declared the leading wicket taker of the tournament for his 24 wickets haul which is also a new record of Nepal taking most wickets in a tournament. On the batting part, Dipendra Singh Airee’s half-century against Singapore in the fourth match was Nepal’s highest individual score in the competition.