HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Batsmen made their day as Nepal trounced Iran by a massive 167 runs to enter the semi-finals of the ACC U-16 Elite Cup at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today.
With their third consecutive victory, Nepal climbed to top of Group ‘B’ with maximum six points. Nepal unseated hosts Malaysia — who also have six points — from the summit on better nett run-rate. The final league match between Malaysia — who are already in the semis — and Nepal at the Kinrara Oval on Wednesday will decide the group winners.
Opting to bat first, half centuries from wicketkeeper Aadil Khan and Jagdish Chand saw Nepal pile on a huge 246-8 in 40 overs. Aakash Bista and Kalicharan Yadav then shared eight wickets between them to restrict Iran to 79-9 in 28 overs. Iran’s No 10 batsman Oveis Nourahmadi was retired hurt.
Nepal lost openers Dipendra Chand (12) and Nurdhoj Sen (15) with 30 runs on board by the eighth over. But Aadil and Aashif Sheikh gave Iran no respite putting 114 runs for the third wicket in 19.3 overs. Aasif made 37 runs in 68 deliveries with three boundaries before he ran himself out after seeing his partner complete his half-century in the 23rd over.
Iran’s joy, however, was short-lived after Jagdish played his shots freely to add 72 runs for the fourth wicket with Aadil in just 46 balls. Jagdish (51) raced on to his half century in just 25 balls. He belted four sixes and as many fours in 27 deliveries. After both batsmen fell to Javed Tarkham’s two consecutive balls in the 35th over, Nepal added just 30 runs in the last 31 deliveries.
Iran, in reply, made a positive start when openers Aslam Javam and Ali Rahdar (five) collected 23 runs for the first wicket. But there partnership remained highest for Iran after Kalicharan gave the breakthrough trapping Ali leg before wicket. Iran then struggled throughout their innings as Nepali bowlers kept on picking wickets at regular intervals.
Kalicharan returned with the figures of 4-12 in six overs, while Akash destroyed Iran’s middle order taking 4-20 from eight. It was only due to the 27 extra that Iran managed to cross 50 runs. Aslam was their top scorer with 21 runs and was bowled by Rupesh Bastola, who returned with envious figures of 1-10 in eight overs. Javed Tarkhan made 11 runs.
Nepal’s coach Manzur Alam Khan said the match went according to their plan. “We had set a plan to give Iran target of more than 200 runs if we batted first and that eventually worked for us,” said Manzur. He further added the team would go into their final league match against Malaysia with more confidence after the result.