Skipper Dipendra Singh Airee completed a five-wicket haul as Nepal entered the semi-finals of the ACC U-19 Eastern Region cricket tournament with a crushing nine-wicket victory over Bhutan at the Kinrara Oval on Wednesday.
Bhutan, who elected to bat first, were bundled out for just 50 runs in 28 overs before Nepal reached 51-1 in 8.3 overs. The result saw Nepal lead Group ‘A’ table on net run rate after they were tied on four points from two matches with Singapore.
Both Nepal and Singapore have reached the last four before facing each other to decide the pool winners on Thursday at Club Aman. Thailand and Bhutan are out of the tournament which sends the champions into November’s ACC U-19 Asia Cup, also to be hosted by Malaysia.
Nepal got an early breakthrough in the game through medium pacer Nandan Yadav before Dipendra destroyed Bhutan picking up five middle order wickets. Opener Ugyen Dorji (13) was the leading scorer from Bhutan’s top order.
After Dipendra wreaked havoc, leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane polished off the lower and lower-middle order picking up four wickets conceding just seven runs in his seven-over spell.
Sandeep has so far taken 11 wickets from two matches having taken seven wickets against Thailand in Nepal’s first match on Monday. Man-of-the-match Dipendra returned the figures of 5-23 from eight overs.
Nepal punished Bhutan’s toothless bowling attack in reply after openers Sandeep Sunar and Aasif Sheikh added 39 runs for the first wicket. Sandeep was out for 21 off 26, while Aasif was unbeaten on 21-ball 23. Both the openers hit three boundaries apiece. Anil Sah was unbeaten on four runs.