ACC U-19 Eastern Region Cricket Tournament: Nepal finish group winners,
Nepal’s domination with the ball continued in the ACC U-19 Eastern Region cricket tournament as they registered a third consecutive victory to finish Group ‘A’ winners.
Spinner Pawan Sarraf was the architect of Nepal’s comprehensive seven-wicket victory as the right arm off spinner picked up six wickets bundling out Singapore for just 67 runs in 28.3 overs. In a match that would decide group supremacy, Nepal reached 68-3 in reply in 13.4 overs.
Nepal will now meet Group ‘B’ runners up Malaysia who lost to Hong Kong by six wickets in their last league stage game. Both the teams in Group ‘B’ were already in the semi-finals with a game in hand.
Nepal had packed up Thailand for 26 runs in a 255-run victory in their first game after Sandeep Lamichhane had picked up seven wickets. The domination continued with skipper Dipendra Singh Airee picking up five wickets in a nine-wicket win over Bhutan on Wednesday.
This time it was Sarraf whose figures of 6-12 from eight overs helped the team once again pack up the opponents below triple figures. Sarraf was elated with his performance. “It feels good to help the team win the game and return with man-of-the-match award which I got after a long time. We had a plan which we executed pretty well. Our target is to qualify for the Asia Cup and I believe that I can improve in the coming games,” said Sarraf.
Kishor Mahato had provided an early initiative removing openers Abdul Rahman Bhadelia (duck) and Rohan Rangarajan (11) cheaply. Sarraf then struck in regular intervals as Singapore kept losing wickets. Only Aryaman Sunil and Siddhant offered some resistance against Nepali bowling attack with both batsmen making 20 runs each.
Sunil hit two sixes in 31 deliveries before losing his wicket to leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, while Siddhant struck a six and a four in 32 balls before he was bowled by Sarraf. Skipper Airee also picked up a wicket for Nepal.
Nepal lost opener Aasif Sheikh (six) early in their chase before his opening partner Sandeep Sunar and Anil Sah took Nepal close to victory. Sunar made 20 off 35 with two boundaries, while Sah hit three fours in his 15-ball 18. Sumit Maharjan (10 not out) and Sundeep Jora (seven not out) sealed the victory after losing the two set batsman.
Avin Dixit was the pick of the Singapore bowlers taking 2-20 from four overs.
Nepal skipper Airee wants his side to come up with an improved game in the semi-finals. “The team is playing well but there are some areas to improve,” said Airee after the game. “Our boys are gaining confidence after every game in bowling and fielding departments. But the batting department is not yet able to play openly. We must need to make sure that we bat with full confidence in the upcoming matches,” added Airee.
Nepal 68-3 in 13.4 overs (S Sunar 20, A Sah 18; A Dixit 2-22, A Bhargava 1-20) beat Singapore 67 all out in 28.3 overs (Siddhant 20, A Sunil 20; P Sarraf 6-12, K Mahato 2-14) by seven wickets
Sep 15, 2017