HEMANTA RAJ KAFLE
BRISBANE: Nepal’s ICC U-19 World Cup misery continued today after losing to Sri Lanka in the Plate Championship 9th place playoff quarter-finals by eight wickets here at the Peter Burge Oval.
Nepal were dismissed for a paltry 79 in 27.3 overs — their second lowest total in U-19 cricket — after electing to bat first. Nepal’s lowest total at this level is 74 runs against West Indies made during the 2008 Plate Championship final. Sri Lanka cruised to victory in 20.4 overs after openers Sebastian Perera (16) and Shehan Fernando (48) eased the run chase with a 71-run stand.
Nepal began the tournament as an 11th ranked team after their second place finish in the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifier but today’s loss has pushed them further down in the rankings.
Nepal will take on Namibia in the 13th place playoff match on Tuesday and if they lose again, they will end up among the bottom two teams.
Nepal’s coach Pubudu Dassnayake said the continuous poor performances have left him speechless. “I had big expectations from this team. To see them struggle every time is really disappointing,” said a dejected Dassanayake. “The Sri Lankan team was not at its best this time around but we kept losing wickets cheaply,” he added.
This is the first time that Nepal have lost four matches in a row in the U-19 World Cup. Skipper Prithu Baskota — whose batting nightmare continued against Sri Lanka as well — could barely explain his side’s miserable showing. “I don’t know why our performance is deteriorating day-by-day. We now have to make sure we win the remaining two matches,” said Prithu.
Nepal opted to bat first and the decision backfired as they lost wickets at regular intervals before eventually being packed up for a low total. Pradeep Airee (four), Sagar Pun (one), Naresh Budhayer (four), Prithu Baskota (five) and Hashim Ansari (one) once again fell cheaply.
Naresh — who had hit a century against New Zealand in the warm-up match — has been the most disappointing among the Nepali batsmen scoring only nine runs throughout the campaign. He was dismissed for duck against England and Australia and made five runs against Ireland in the league stage.
Opener Subash Khakurel again led a brief resistance with 22 runs from 30 balls. Rajesh Pulami was the next best scorer with a 40-ball 16. Tharindu Kaushal took three wickets for the Lankans. For Nepal, Prithu and Bhuwan Karki took one wicket apiece.
Three suspected of illegal bowling
BRISBANE: Three Nepali bowlers were suspected of their bowling and will be tested in Canberra after the ICC U-19 World Cup. Spinners Rahul Kumar BK, Sagar Pun and part-time medium bowler Pradeep Airee will be tested in the laboratory after the International Cricket Council (ICC) found they had suspected bowling action, informed Nepal’s team manager Kiran Rana. The trio will leave for Canberra along with assistant coach Jagat Tamatta and will be back three days after the team’s arrival. —
India, New Zealand in semi-finals
KATHMANDU: India held their nerves to beat Pakistan by one wicket in a thrilling quarter-final encounter, while New Zealand edge the West Indies by three-wickets in the last-ball thriller to reach the semi-finals of the ICC U-19 World Cup in Townsville on Monday.
At the Tony Ireland Stadium, Sandeep Sharma and Ravikant Singh picked up three wickets each as India restricted Pakistan for 136 in 45.1 overs. India lost nine wickets but Harmeet Singh (13) kept his cool to hand his team victory in 48 overs.
India were jolted early on with three wickets each from Zia-ul-Haq and Azizullah. Baba Aparajith top scored with 51 runs for India, while Babar Azam made 50 for Pakistan.
New Zealand, meanwhile, snatched victory in the final ball to reach 238-7 after West Indies made 237 in 50 overs. New Zealand needed 18 runs from the last over and Ish Sodhi (22) plundered 17 alone.