HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal will have a slight advantage when they take on hosts Malaysia in the championship match of the ACC Under-16 Elite Cup at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Nepal have already sidelined tournament’s biggest threat Singapore — the defending champions who had trounced Nepal in the 2010 edition final in Kathmandu — in the semi-finals. With the team also getting better off Malaysia with a thrilling one-wicket victory in their final group-stage match, Nepal will have an edge over the hosts going into the final.
The victory will particularly erase the bitter memories of 2010 for skipper Dipendra Chand and Jagdish Chand, who were the members of the team that went down by 68 runs at the hands of Singapore on home soil. The win will also give Nepal the only remaining age-group trophy. Nepal have already won all the age-category tournaments organised by the Asian Cricket Council.
Malaysia — under former Nepal coach Roy Luke Dias — will take the sole inspiration from their final group-stage match. At one stage, they had reduced Nepal to 88-9 but Akash Bista stood firm with an unbeaten half-century and two crucial partnerships.
The hosts would like to go just one step further and make no mistake this time around. Malaysia will also be boosted by their unlikely 36-run victory over Oman in the semi-finals. They were all out for a paltry 72 runs before their bowlers helped the team to make remarkable come back bundling out the opponents for just 42 runs.