Nepal crashed out of the ongoing SAARC U-25 Twenty20 Cricket Tournament after losing its last league match against Pakistan by 74 runs in the Maldives on Saturday. Nepal was chasing the target of 177 runs and managed to score only 103 runs in the Group B match losing nine wickets. In the must-win match,
Nepal won the toss and invited Pakistan to bat first. Pakistan scored 176 runs with the loss of nine wickets. Krishna Karki was the most successful bowler for Nepal as he grabbed four wickets in his four-over spell conceding 11 runs. Skipper Paras Khadka and Amrit Bhattarai took two wickets each while Pradeep Airee chipped a wicket.
Khadka had given Nepal good start in bowling as he took the first wicket in the first over of Pakistan innings. In the second over, Karki took another wicket and kept Nepal in a strong position. Pakistan made a slow start losing seven wickets with 55 runs on board until Mohamed Aziz and Ali Khan dominated the game and took Pakistan to a strong position after the 12th over. Aziz scored 48 runs off 22 balls while Khan scored 62 off 41 balls. They both shared 102 run partnership for the eighth wicket. Nepal had to win the match by the end of 10th over to qualify for the semifinals.
Nepal had a good opening partnership between Mahesh Chhetri and Anil Mandal. Mandal and Chhetri shared a 43-run partnership for the first wicket in seven overs. Chhetri was the highest scorer with 21 runs.
Nepal scored only 60 runs in the remaining 13 overs losing eight wickets. Skipper Khadka said that the middle order batsmen could not perform well and the team lost quick wickets. "We did a great job by taking seven wickets of Pakistan early but the two batsmen batted well and did not allowed us to come into the game.
The target was attainable but poor batting cost us the game." Nepal´s coach Pubudu Dassanayake said that the Pakistani bowlers did not allow Nepali batsmen to settle in the crease. "Our batsmen failed to perform well but the bowlers bowled really well too. It is a big achievement to restrict Pakistan for just 176 runs."
In the semifinals, Afghanistan will face Sri Lanka while Pakistan will lock horns with the host the Maldives.
News Source- myrepublica.com