Anil Mandal's fine form with the bat continued as Nepal replied solidly on the first day of their two-day tour match against Hong Kong at the Abu Dhabi Oval 1 in UAE on Thursday.
Nepali team is playing a crucial second round of their ICC World Cricket League Championship against Papua New Guinea in UAE on November 16 and 18. And the two-day match against Hong Kong was a perfect platform for them to rediscover themselves following a long break back home.
Anil accomplished the mission. The in-form batsman, who had smashed three centuries in the Nationals and one ton against Scotland, scored another half century as Nepal finished the day at 106-1 in reply to Hong Kong's 215-4 declared.
Nepal didn't have best of the start when they lost opener Mahesh Chhetri (10) with just 21 runs on the board but Anil dealt with the score sensibly and along with Sagar Pun shared an unbeaten 85-run stand for the second wicket to put Nepal on a front foot.
With just four overs remaining in their first innings, Nepal trail Hong Kong by 109 runs with the latter playing 40 overs on the second and final day. Anil is unbeaten on 56 off 104 balls with 10 boundaries, while Sagar is 38 not out from 90 balls with five boundaries.
Earlier, Anshuman Rath and Kinchit Shah gave a decent start to Hong Kong sharing 61 runs for the first wicket before Basanta Regmi dismissed the latter for 29. Rath made 42 off 103 balls with six fours before he was retired out.
Babar Hayat and Nizakat Khan then guided Hong Kong towards 200-run mark sharing 81 runs for the third wicket. Nizakat made 48 off 63 aggressively hitting three sixes and five boundaries in his innings.
Babar was unbeaten on 68 from 107 balls including nine boundaries before their innings was declared. Basanta took two wickets for Nepal who were playing without their regular skipper Paras Khadka and gave chances to newcomers Bikram Sob and Irshad Ahmed. Both of them went wicketless in first innings.