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Nepal suffers 5-wicket loss to Pakistan

Kathmandu, Jan. 25: Nepali young guns suffered a consecutive second loss after going down to Pakistan by five wickets in the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup Cricket at the Buffalo Park Cricket Ground in East London, South Africa on Wednesday.

The second win steered Pakistan to the super six. Pakistan defeated Afghanistan in its opener. Nepal will next face Afghanistan on January 26 in its last group match. Both Nepal and Afghanistan are winless in the tournament. Nepal lost its opening match against New Zealand by 64 runs.

Electing to bat first, Nepal gave a medium target of 198 runs to Pakistan for victory.  Pakistan in reply, achieved the victory with 201 on the scoreboard and 14 balls to spare. Pakistan came up with a solid start with openers duo Shamyl Hussain and Shahzaib Khan putting on an 81-run partnership for the first wicket. Medium pacer Aakash Chand succeed to put the brake on the partnership dismissing both on the 22nd over.

Azan Awais, however, cruised Pakistan to home with his not out half century knocks of 63. His patience batting included six boundaries off 82 balls.

Opener Hussain hit one six and four boundaries in his 59-ball 37 and Khan also added 37 off 70 deliveries that included three fours and one six before departing to dug out. Medium pacer Chand dismissed Arafa Minhas (8) for his third wicket and finished with a figure of 3-34.

The match winner Awais collaborated with Ahmad Hassan for 64 runs for the fifth wicket. Hassan clubbed four boundaries and added 37-ball 29 before being stumped by Bipin Rawal off Dipesh Kandel in 42.1 over. Haroon Arshad chipped in not out 15 runs off 18 deliveries. Dipesh Kandel and Aakash Tripathi also bagged one wicket apiece for Nepal.

Earlier, electing to bat first Nepal scored 197 runs for the loss of all wickets in the scheduled 50 overs. Bipin Rawal scored the highest 39 runs for Nepal. Rawal’s batting included four fences and one six off 68 balls.

Similarly, Deepak Dumre chipped in with 26 runs while Captain Dev Khanal added 23 runs and Subas Bhandari garnered 20 runs for Nepal. Gulshan Jha (18), Akash Chand (16) and Dipesh Kandel (13) were other double-digit scorers for Nepal.

Pakistan’s Arafat Minhas had three-wicket haul while Ahmed Hussain and Uwaid Shah took two wickets each to restrict Nepal for medium total.

In U-19 cricket, Nepal and Pakistan have competed twice before. In the meeting held in 2002, Nepal won by 30 runs. In the last encounter in 2016, Pakistan won by 122 runs. Nepal is pitted with New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Group D of U19 World Cup.

New Zealand, with four points after two wins, also moved to super six from Group D. The top three teams from each group moves to super six.

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