KATHMANDU: Nepal put on a scintillating display of both batting and bowling to stun the tournament favorites India with 19-run victory during the ACC U-19 Asia Cup held at the Bayuemas Oval in Pandamaran, Klang, Malaysia on Sunday.
With today’s victory, defeating test playing nation India in any category, Nepal kept its hope alive of advancing into the semi-final of the tournament.
Nepal, coached by former bowler and captain Binod Das, successfully defended their 188 runs, by bowling out India, coached by former captain Rahul Dravid, for 166 runs in 49 overs of their allotted 50 overs, to emerge with 19 runs victory, in the crucial encounter.
Nepali skipper Dipendra Singh Airee played a captains knocks of 88 runs in just over 100 deliveries with six hit to the fence and a towering six over a cow corner before returning with the ball to torment Indian’s innings with four scalps.
Man-of-the-match, Airee’s defiance with the bat and ball, single-handedly propelled Nepal to victory over the Indian.
After winning the toss, Indian skipper Himanshu Rana invitation for Nepal to take the first strike paid the dividend as Nepal were reduced to 28-2 within 12 overs of play.
Nepal’s opening batsman Jitendra Singh Thakuri and skipper Dipendra Singh Airee steadied the ship as they combined for 49 runs partnership for the third wicket.
However, Thakuri perished for 36 runs after trying to up-the-ante caught and bowled by Abhiskhek Sharma in the 28th over.
Airee played sensibly and reached his personal milestone of 50 runs off 70 balls. However, skipper holding the fort from one end couldn’t do any thing as the wickets tumbled cheaply at the other end.
India’s Abhishek Sharma and Aditya Thakare took two wickets each and Vivekanand Tiwari, Mandeep Singh, Shiva Singh and Atharva Taide chipped in with a wicket each.
In reply, India got off to a flying start as the opening partnership contributed 65 runs in pursuit of 189 runs for victory.
Himanshu Rana top scored with 46 runs and Manjot Kalra contributed 35 runs to the Indian total. Nepal’s Dipendra Singh rattled the Indian batting line-up with four scalps.
However, Abhishek Sharma tried to revive the innings with 27 runs but other batsmen failed cheaply as a dramatic lower order collapse felt short of 19 runs for victory.
Nepal’s Pawan Saraf, Shahab Alam took two wickets each, while, Kamal Singh and Sandeep Lamichhane chipped in with a wicket each.
On Tuesday, Nepal will take on the hosts vying for a semi final berth in the tournament.
Earlier, Nepal had lost to Bangladesh by two wickets.
– By Mausam Shah Nepali for THT