Photo Courtesy: Raman Shiwakoti Skipper Gyanendra Malla (R) and Asif Sheikh of Nepal fist-bump druing the ACC Emerging Teams Cup group stage match against Hong Kong at the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium Academy Ground in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on Thursday.
Malla, Airee, Vesawkar crack half centuries
KATHMANDU, March 30: Nepal signed off the ACC Emerging Teams Cup with a consolation victory as triple half centuries gave the team a seven-wicket win over Hong Kong on Thursday at the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium Academy Ground in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
Skipper Gyanendra Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee and Sharad Vesawkar each surpassed the 50-run mark for Nepal, with the latter two remaining unbeaten.
Inviting Hong Kong to bat first after winning the toss, Nepal bowled out the fellow associate side for 214 runs, and made 220 runs for the loss of three wickets in 44.2 overs.
After the first win in their last match of the tournament, Nepal finished third in the four-team group with two points, while Hong Kong were sent packing without opening accounts in the points table.
The U-23 teams of Test playing sides Pakistan and Bangladesh, the host, shared five points each.
Bangladesh and Pakistan both registered wins over Nepal and Hong Kong, while their last match among them was drawn.
Gyanendra came up with an all-round show for Nepal. He removed well-set Hong Kong openers Cameron McAuslan and Anshuman Rath with ball, and also gave solid start with bat. Man-of-the-match Gyanendra scored the highest 70 runs off 82 deliveries. He cracked 11 fours in his innings before being bowled by Jhatavedh Subramanyan in the 26th over.
The other opener Aasif Sheikh (8 runs off 23) and Dilip Nath (12 runs off 29) were out cheaply. But teenager Dipendra Singh Airee (60 runs) and veteran Sharad Vesawkar (55 runs) recorded an unbeaten 105-run partnership for the fourth wicket to guide Nepal to the victory.
Dipendra hit five fences and the winning six in his patient knock off 83 balls, while Sharad cracked three boundaries and sixes each.
Jhatavedh pocketed two wickets for Hong Kong in his 10-over spell, including the prized one of Gyanendra. He conceded 41 runs. Nizakat Khan bagged one.
Earlier, openers Cameron (43 runs off 73) and captain Anshuman (51 runs off 60) gave a strong start to Hong Kong, before the first wicket partnership was broken at 95 runs by Gyanendra.
Anshuman was caught and bowled by Gyanendra in the last delivery of the 20th over. Gyanendra again sent back Cameron to pavilion in a similar fashion in the second ball of the 22nd over.
Cameron hit five boundaries and Anshuman hit seven before being dismissed.
Following the departures of the openers, Hong Kong lost wickets in regular intervals. Middle order Waqas Khan (30 runs off 65), Wajid Shah (16 runs off 24), Shahid Wasif (22 runs off 22) and Ehsan Khan (18 runs of 15) were the other batsmen for Hong Kong to reach double-digit figures.
Avinash Karn was the pick of bowling for Nepal, claiming three wickets in his five-over spell giving away 29 runs. Bhuwan Karki, Susan Bhari and Gyanendra shared two wickets apiece. Bhuwan conceded 37 runs in his 10-over spell with a maiden over, while Susan gave 53 runs in his 10-over bowling. Gyanendra conceded 25 runs in his seven-over attack.
Nepal travelled to Bangladesh without four senior players, including regular captain Paras Khadka, veterans Basant Regmi and Shakti Gauchan and emerging Sompal Kami. Paras has been recuperating after appendicitis surgery, while the other three were rested with a view to give exposure to new players. Four playersm including Aasif Sheikh, Dilip Nath, Sushan Bhari and Dipesh Shrestha, marked their debut for the national team in the tournament.