March 27, 2017 04:06 PM NPT
Republica file photo
KATHMANDU, March 27: Nepal faced a six-wicket defeat against Pakistan U-23 in its opening match of the ACC Emerging Teams Cup played on Monday at the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Academy Ground in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
Nepali team playing in the absence of veterans including regular skipper Paras Khadka, Shakti Gauchan, Basnata Regmi and emerging Sompal Kami crumbled in the batting department. Paras is recuperating after his appendicitis surgery while the other three were given rest with the view to give exposure to new player.
Put to bat first after losing the toss, Nepal managed 180/9 in the 50-over format which saw Sushan Bhari and Dipesh Shrestha mark their debuts in the national colors. In the run chase, the Test playing Pakistani youth team made 183 runs in 45.1 overs at the loss of four wickets during their first match of Group B.
Nepal made a shaky start with the bat and kept on losing wickets at a regular interval. It lost opener and skipper Gyanendra Malla for just two runs. But the other opener Sunil Dhamala (43 runs) and Sharad Vesawkar (38 runs) were the highest contributors for Nepal.
Sunil hit three fences in his patient knock off 125 deliveries and played a 79-run stand for the fourth wicket with Sharad Vesawkar. He was caught by Haris Sohail of Usama Mir in the 38th over. Sharad hit two fences in his 59-ball knock before being sent to the pavilion in the 40th over.
Tailender Binod Bhandari (24 runs off 32 balls), Aarif Sheikh (not out 18 runs off 30 balls) and Dipendra Singh Airee (14 runs off 29 balls) were the other players contributing in double digits. Sagar Pun (4), Mehboob Alam (0), Sushan Bhari (3) and Sandeep Lamichhane (0) were out cheaply.
Pakistan's Ghulam Mudassar was the pick of the bowlers claiming five wickets. He gave away 26 runs in his 10-over spell with a maiden over. Usama Mir pocketed two wickets.
In the run chase, opener Imam-ul-Haq smashed an unbeaten 104 runs to create the base for a comfortable victory. He slammed nine fours facing 135 deliveries. He played a 44-run stand for the first wicket with Imran Butt (21 run off 44 balls) before the latter was bowled by teenager Sandeep.
Hammad Azam Contributed unbeaten 22 runs off 42 deliveries.
Haris Shoail contributed 17 runs and Mohammad Rizwan scored 10 runs before they were sent back to pavilion.
Sandeep and skipper Gyanendra both claimed two wickets each while debutant bowlers Dipesh and Sushan both failed to bag any wicket. Sandeep gave away 32 runs in his eight-over bowling while Gyanendra conceded 44 runs in his 10-over bowling. Dipesh gave away 21 runs in his four-over spell and Sushan Bhari gave 35 runs in his 10-over spell.
In the other match of the same group, Bangladesh U-23 team registered a comfortable eight-wicket win over Hong Kong. In group A matches, India U-23 overcame its Sri Lankan counterpart by 35 runs and Afghanistan drubbed Malaysia by 155 runs.
Nepal will take on Bangladesh Tuesday and Hong Kong Thursday in its group match. The top two finishers in the four-team group will book semifinal spots.