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Raju smashes first U-19 ton in four years to hand Nepal victory

Oct 18, 2015 | Eddie Van Brooks |

Raju Rijal became the first U-19 batsman to score a century in four years as Nepal defeated Uganda in the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Electing to bat first, Raju played a captain's knock making 101 off 115 balls lefting Nepal to 242-7 in 50 overs. The medium pace attack of Dipesh Shrestha and Aarif Sheikh destroyed the Uganda top order to bundle out the opponents for just 71 in 36.2 overs.

It was Raju's fine knock that gave a lot to cheer to Nepali cricket as the ton in Nepal's age group cricket came four years after Faizlur Rahman Khan had slammed a century against Qatar during the ACC U-19 Premier held in Bangkok.

He also joined Shakti Gauchan, Kanishka Chaugain along with Khan in the list of centurions to slam century in U-19 cricket. He now holds a record as the first U-19 skipper to slam a century.

Raju's century was highlight of the day as he rebuild Nepal innings with two big partnerships after Nepal lost openers Sandeep Sunar (two) and Sunil Dhamala (seven) in a space of two runs by fifth over.

Raju shared 84 runs for the third wicket with Yogendra Karki who scored 30 off 76 with two boundaries. After Yogendra lost his wicket, Raju partnered with Aarif Sheikh for a 90-run stand to take Nepal into a strong position.

Raju's innings included seven boundaries and a six that brought off Derrick Bakunzi to complete his century when he was batting on 94. He was dismissed off the same bowler in the same over in the fourth ball of the 43rd over.

Aarif, meanwhile, went on to complete a half century making 54 off 59 that included four boundaries. Rajbir Singh made a run-a-ball 13 with a six. Bakunzi picked up 3-54 for Uganda.

Uganda were dealt a hammer blow in their chase when Dipesh and Aarif ran riot in the top order reducing them to 13-5 in 11 overs. Shrestha took 3-25 from seven overs. Bakunzi and John Gabula tried to keep Uganda in the game with a 28-run stand before Dipendra Singh Airee dismissed the former to resume the collapse.

Gabula was unbeaten on 25 off 76 deliveries with three boundaries and Bakunzi (18) was the only remaining batsman to make runs in double figures. Aarif finished with 2-1 from 5.2 overs with Dipendra and Prem Tamang taking two wickets apiece.


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