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Pawan's solid knock ends Nepal's seven-year drought against Afghanistan

Sep 16, 2018 | CN Staff |
Nepal ended their seven-year win drought over Afghanistan as the team defeated their Asian archrivals by 25 runs in the Quardangular U-19 One Day Series in Lucknow on Sunday. 

Put in to bat first, Nepal rode on a well-composed half century from Pawan Sarraf to make 189 all out in 49.3 overs. Spinner Sagar Dhakal then bowled miserly and picked up four wickets as Afghanistan were 164 all out in 47.4 overs. 

The victory for Nepal came after seven years having previously beaten them in the 2011 ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers in Ireland under Prithu Baskota. It is Nepal's fourth victory over Afghanistan in the U-19 level in their 11 overall meetings.

Opener Reyaz Hassan gave Afghanistan a modest start adding 40 runs for the first wicket with Abdi Mohammadi who fell to Kamal Singh Airee for nine. Sagar then picked up three quick wickets reducing the opponents to 58-4 in 19.3 overs. 

Skipper Ijaz Ahmed Mehran and Abdul Rahman Rahmani resurrected the innings with a 49-run partnership for the fifth wicket before Sandeep Zora ran out the latter. Rahmani hit three sixes and two boundaries in his 46-ball 37. 

All hopes wrested on skipper Mehran who at one stage looked like handing Afghanistan the victory but was bowled by Rashid Khan as the ninth wicket. Mehran made 57 from 96 balls with two sixes and as many boundaries. 

Sagar returned the figures of 4-29 from 10 overs with three maiden, while Kamal and Rashid also took two wickets each. Pawan made valuable contribution with the ball picking up 1-32 from 10 overs. 

Earlier, Nepali innings was built around Pawan who remained unbeaten to make 78 from 96 balls with 10 boundaries and a six. Pawan must importantly held the Nepali innings forging some crucial partnerships. 

Nepali top order once again crumbled as Aasif Sheikh's career graph continued to be in a downward spiral. Promoted to open the innings, Aasif was out for three runs, while Trit Raj Das and Arun Airee (duck) also fell cheaply. 

Sandeep Zora and Lokesh Bam (16) then added 47-runs for the fourth wicket. Zora made 28 from 31 with three fours and a six. Nepal were still to recover as they were restricted to 116-7 following dismissals of of Zora, Lokesh, Bhim Sharki (13) and Kamal Singh Airee (nine). 

Pawan then rebuilt the innings with a 65-run partnership for the eighth wicke with Rashid Khan who made 24 from 49 balls with two boundaries. Nawid Mohammad Kabir took three wickets for Afghanistan, while Abid Mohammadi and Aarif Khan Dawlatzai picked up three wickets apiece.


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