Nepal piled on runs and crushed Saudi Arabia by 195 runs to make a blistering start in the ACC U-19 Premier in Kuwait on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to bat first back fired as Nepal batsmen kept on scoring runs especially after middle order duo Shankar Rana and skipper Raju Rijal shared a massive 149 runs for the third wicket. Nepal piled a mammoth 321 all out in 49.5 overs and skittle out the Saudis for just 126 in 37.5 overs.
Openers Faisal Khan and Sameer Hakeem were the only two Saudi batsmen to defy the Nepali spinning attack but had to succumb at one point of the match that effectively ended their challenge in the game.
The two openers shared 50 runs for the first wicket before Sunil Dhamala took a return catch to dismiss Khan for 41 runs. He stroked six boundaries and two sixes in just 31 balls. Hakeem, meanwhile stayed calm but Nepal kept striking at the other end.
Hakeem surrendered to the spin from experienced Prem Tamang after making 43 off 72 with five boundaries. Spinner Sushil Kandel tightened the screws in the middle order picking up 3-25 from 10 overs as Saudi Arabia never settled in the game after the fall of opener Khan.
Sunil ended up picking 2-12 from 5.5 overs and medium pacer Dipesh Shrestha had 2-34 from eight overs. Aarif Sheikh was wicket less in his three over spell but bowled two maidens and was hit for 14 runs in the only one.
Earlier, openers Sunil (26) and Prem (11) gave Nepal a modest start with 43 runs in the first 10 overs but both batsmen were dismissed in a space of four runs as the scores read 47-2.
Shanakar and Raju then came up with a huge partnership that set Nepal on course for a big total. Shankar was particularly aggressive smashing 89 off 82 with 11 boundaries and two sixes. Raju made 49 off 53 with two hits to the fence.
Aarif Sheikh chipped in 33 off 26 with two fours and a six after both set batsmen headed back to the pavilion. Dipendra Airee blitzed from the lower order with a 32-ball cameo of 42 hitting four boundaries and a six.
Saurav Khanal also made 23 from 15 with two sixes and a four. Faisal Khan was the all-round performer for Saudi Arabia with 5-59 from 10 overs. Shankar was adjudged the man-of-the-match.
In another match, title contenders Afghanistan hammered Malaysia by 10 wickets. Afghanistan — fresh from their 2-1 series victory over Pakistan U-19 — bundled out Malaysia for just 101 runs in 36.1 overs before reaching 105-0 in just 9.3 overs.
Hazratullah Zazai made 66 off 36 for Afghanistan. Nepal will now meet hosts Kuwait on Monday and Afghanistan play against UAE in the second day of the tournament.