Nepal thrashes Malaysia to stay alive
The victory has given Nepal hope of qualifying for the semifinals of the tournament being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as Pakistan defeated India by 1 run in another group ´A´ match.
Pakistan, who defeated Nepal on Saturday, booked semifinal berth after consecutive victory in the group ´A´ while the next semifinalist from the group will be decided after the match between Nepal and India on Tuesday.
Nepal elected to bat and put up 247/8 in 50 overs as Pun scored 71 runs off 90 balls at the Royal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur. In reply, Malaysia was all out for 140 runs in 43 overs.
Nepal U-19 had defeated Malaysia four times since 2001 to 2007 in the ACC U-19 Elite Cup — three times in the final and once in semifinal. Nepal had achieved all these victories under Sri Lankan coach Roy Luke Dias, who is leading Malaysia in the current tournament.
Openers Subas Khakurel (33 runs off 39 balls) and Pradeep Airee (39 runs off 57 balls) put up 74-run first wicket partnership in 16 overs. However Nepal faced a mini-collapse in the middle as Nepal was 90/4 in 24 overs as Naresh Budayair (4 runs) and skipper Prithu Baskota (naught) were out in the 24th over.
Sagar Pun, who was the second highest scorer for the Nepali U-19 team during the ACC U-19 Elite Cup held in Thailand and ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers held in Ireland last year, proved his caliber and anchored the Nepali innings. Pun shot four boundaries and three sixes during his 90-ball innings. He lost his wicket when Nepal reached 208.
Pun put up a 84-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Rajesh Pulami (39 runs off 45 balls) while Rahul BK added only four runs. Hasim Ansari and Bhuwan Karki chipped in to put up a 37-run ninth wicket partnership to add misery to Malaysia. Ansari scored 21 runs off 23 balls while Karki remained unbeaten scoring 23 runs off 15 balls.
Sivanantha Krishnan took three wickets for Malaysia while Nazril Rahman claimed two wickets.
Malaysia never sensed the way to victory and it was rattling 61/4 in 25 overs. Muhamad Syahadat top scored for Malaysia with 36 runs off 70 balls while Krishnan and Pavithren Nadaesan scored 23 runs and 21 runs respectively.
Spinner Rahul BK did the most damage to Malaysia as he took five wickets bowling eight overs. Man-of-the-match BK kept a maiden and gave away only 30 runs to take the five wickets. Avinash Karn and skipper Baskota claimed a wicket each.
Sagar Pun also claimed a wicket. Saurav Khanal could not claim wicket but kept three maiden overs and gave away only 16 runs in seven overs.