KATHMANDU, July 9: Skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel and middle order batsman Bhim Sarki shared unbeaten partnership of 60 runs to help Nepal U-19 cricket team beat Malaysia U-19 in the semifinal of ongoing ACC U-19 Eastern Region championship held at Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Pre-tournament favorite Nepal is one step away from reaching the Youth Asia Cup with a final match against Hong Kong lined up. The winner of the final will qualify for U-19 Asia Cup to be held in Sri Lanka in September.
Group A’s winner Nepal chased down the target of 88 runs in 15.5 overs to defeat Group B’s second-placed team Malaysia to set a final match on Monday. Paudel smashed two fours and a six scoring 31 runs during his 29-ball stay. Similarly, Sarki, batting for the first time in the tournament, remained unbeaten of 33 runs off 34 deliveries which included two fours and a six.
Haiqal Mohd Khair dismissed centurion of the previous match Rit Gautam for three runs and opening batsman Pawan Sarraf for 18 runs. He was further assisted by Muhammad Amir who rattled Khadak Bohora’s stumps for duck to put Nepal in early trouble chasing the paltry score. However, Nepal remained unbeaten in the tournament to reach the final.
Earlier, Nepal bowlers led by left-arm spinner Sagar Dhakal helped bundle out Malaysia for 87 runs in 40.5 overs. Malaysia was invited to bat first after Nepal won the toss on a cloudy day in Kuala Lumpur.
Muhammad Amir’s 24 runs off 32 deliveries which included three fours held one end but Nepali bowlers continued taking wicket from the other. Despite a partnership of 37 runs for the second wicket, Malaysia lost last eight wickets for 50 runs.
Player of the match Dhakal registered three wickets whereas Kamal Singh Airee, Rashid Khan and Tilak Raj Bhandari shared a wicket each. Likewise, the second left-arm spinner in playing XI, Kushal Malla picked up a brace to help Nepal dismiss Malaysia for a low score.
Similarly, second finalist Hong Kong U-19 defeated Singapore by 51 runs under DLS method to qualify for the final. Hong Kong scored 247 runs for the loss of 9 wickets whereas rain arrived when Singapore were on 97 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in 28.3 overs.