Nepal failed to produce their first victory over Bangladesh at the age group cricket in the last 15 years after losing to the youth team of the Test side by two wickets in their first Group ‘A’ match of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup.
Having beaten junior Tigers when they were just crawling with their Test ranks during the 2002 ICC U-19 World Cup, Nepal had expected to repeat their one and half decade feat at the Kinrara Oval in Malaysia on Saturday.
A side that recently beat Bangladesh in a practice match by six wickets, Nepal must have thought of celebrating in style when Kishor Mahato left Kama Singh Airee with 10 runs to defend in the final over in Bangladesh’s chase of 181 runs in 40 overs.
Kamal put the foot right when he bowled set batsman Mahidul Islam (23) to leave Bangladesh with 10 to get from five balls with just two wickets – that too of tailenders. But in a perfect example of the game of cricket, Nayeem Hasan made Kamal’s next yorker ball a full toss to scoop it towards third man for a boundary.
Another single from Hasan left Bangladesh five to get from three and to Kamal’s dismay, Robiul Haque hit a boundary in fourth ball as the junior Tigers virtually won the game.
After Nepal mustered 167-6 in 40.5 overs, the already rain-reduced 43-over game had presented Bangladesh with what ultimately was a stiff target to chase. Bangladesh’s reply was strong beginning with a 47-run first wicket stand between Pinak Ghosh (24) and Md Naim Sheikh.
Sheikh was the top scorer of the game making 52 off 82 with three fours and a six but his dismissal off Anil Sah in the 27th over halted the proceedings for Bangladesh as they were reduced to 122-5 in 32.2 overs. Afif Hossain revived the innings together with Islam forging a 48-run crucial stand but Nepal did hit back with three wickets in four balls only to see them choke in the final over.
Afif Hossain made 33 off 39 with a boundary and a six. Sandeep Lamichhane took two wickets for Nepal.
Earlier, the match was all about a fifth wicket 79-run partnership that leased life in the game for Nepal. Reduced to 70-4 in 24.1 overs after the fall of their top four batsmen, Bhim Sharki and Rohit Kumar Paudel rebuilt the innings.
Bhim smashed three sixes and two fours in his 40-ball 44 and Rohit notched up 40 from 54 with two sixes and two boundaries. Aasif Sheikh was the leading scorer from the top order making 30 from 52 balls with three hits to the fence.