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In the grasp, out of the grasp: Has rain ruined Nepal's aspirations?

Apr 14, 2019 | CN Staff |

It all looked good for Nepal when they posted 247 against the UAE after batting first in their ICC U-19 World Cup Asia Qualifier second game until rain came in. The stage was set for Nepal to claw their way back into the game when Sagar Dhakal broke a century partnership between Ansh Tandon and Vriitya Aravind reducing the Emiratis to 122-3 in 30 overs.

For a second, the game looked on grasp but Duckworth/Lewis meant otherwise. Nepal lost the game by one run dealing a blow to their aspirations of making an eighth appearance in the U-19 World Cup which South Africa is hosting next year.

UAE now seem to be perfectly poised to book tickets to South Africa with only Kuwait and Oman posing as relatively challenging opponents. But for Nepal, its going to be a tough game onwards. They not only need to defeat Kuwait, Oman and Malaysia but also hope UAE lose any one of their remaining three games as they are also left to play Singapore.

The round robin league Qualifier sends only the table toppers into the World Cup with all the teams left with almost no margin of error. And Nepal coach Binod Das knows how costly the one run might go on to be.

"The pain is unbearable.. Worked selflessly for last 2 years for this opportunity and seems like rain has washed it off.. But miracles have happened in the past and we hope it happens again. please God. This should not be the end. #NepalU19," Das tweeted in his official handle on Saturday.

After a 47-run second wicket partnership between opener Rit Gautam and No 3 Aasif Sheikh (27), Nepal had recovered in the game until a collapse left them reeling at 115-5 in 25.3 overs. Nepal had missed three individual milestones in their first match against Singapore and the curse continued when Rit fell for a 73-ball 44.

Bhim Sharki and Hari Bahadur Chauhan, coming in for Surya Tamang, resurrected the innings with a 92-run partnership for the sixth wicket leading Nepal to 247 all out in 50 overs. Sharki, who doesn't like to play submissively notched up 53 after hitting four boundaries and two sixe but fell while upping the ante in his 54-ball stay at the crease.

All was left on Hari who remained unbeaten on the game making a 74-ball 67 with seven boundaries. Hari getting amongst run will be crucial for Nepal in coming matches when they resume the Qualifier after Sunday's break with the game against Malaysia on Monday. Apart from their own performance, all will depend on how luck strikes the team now.


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