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Nepal end winless campaign, Subash impressive

Nepal wrapped up their ACC Emerging Teams Cup winless after losing to Pakisan U-23 by nine wickets at The Padang in Singapore on Wednesday. 


After beginning the tournament with a three-run loss against Afghanistan, Nepal had lost to India U-23 by 84 runs on Tuesday that had sent them on the brink of elimination from Group ‘A’.


It was the first time that Nepal is returning home trophyless in a 50-over tournaments after coach Pubudu Dassanayake took charge of the team. With the presence of U-23 teams from Asia’s Test playing nations, a target to claim the trophy still would have been a far cry. 


In the match, Nepal were dismissed for 156 in the last ball of their innings with opener Subash Khakurel scoring half of the team total. Opener Babar Azam then replied with a composed unbeaten century as Pakistan reached 159-1 in 33.1 overs. 


Spinner Basanta Regmi had the only delight when he had another opener Azeem Ghumman caught by Sagar Pun for 15 runs but by that time the two openers had already added 65 runs for the first wicket. Azam then shared an unbroken 93-run partnership with Hammad Azam to Pakisan take safely home without much fuss.


Azam hit 11 boundaries in 118 balls and completed his century of a single off Sagar in the 33rd over. Hammad — who hit the winning boundary off Shakti Gauchan — was 41 not out after hitting two boundaries and a six from 46 balls. 


Earlier, except for Subash none of the Nepali batsmen managed to put runs on the board for a total that could have troubled Pakistan. Subash made 78 runs, while Basanta Regmi and Binod Bhandari made 16 each and Gyanendra Malla (10) was the only remaining Nepali batsmen to touch double figures. 


Subash and Anil Mandal (five) began on a positive note with a 29-run stand for the first wicket. Subash added another 25 with Gyanendra who was trapped leg before by Hammad after hitting a six off a free hit. 


Skipper Paras Khadka’s (one) stay at the crease lasted just three balls. Subash remained firm and with Binod Bhandari put 29 runs before the latter lost his wicket to Babar Azam just after Subash completed his half century from a single. Binod hit one boundary. 


Sharad departed off a run out after making eight runs from 25 balls and Sagar Pun — who had hit a half century against India on Tuesday — didn’t last long either. Subash, however, continued to offer resistance and finally lost his wicket in an attempt  play a reverse shot against Mohammad Nawaz. Subash hit nine boundaries and a six in 127 balls.


With runs hard to come by and the set batsman gone, Nepal found it even difficult to cope with the pressure and collected just 16 runs in the last eight overs losing three wickets. Basanta remained unbeaten on 16 off 43 with one four. 


Raza Hasan took three wickets for Pakista and Usman Qadir had two scalps. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka U-23 edged Singapore by 13 runs to enter the semi-final as Group ‘B’ winners.     

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