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Nepal impress with the bat despite crashing out with Sri Lanka defeat

Nepal impressed with the bat despite crashing out from the group stage of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup after following a 60-run defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Centuries from opener Chamindu Wickramasinghe and Sadisha Rajapaksha steered Sri Lanka to 322-4 in 50 overs. Nepal began positively and after a majority of the batsmen put up a fight, they reached 262 all out in 47.5 overs.

The result, however, means Nepal go out from the group stage having lost first two matches. They will play Kuwait in the final dead rubber on Tuesday. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh both made it through with both facing each other for Group B top spot.

Nepal had a disastrous outing as they were bundled out for a lowly 143 against Bangladesh on Friday while chasing another big 298 against the junior Tigers.

With Sri Lanka amassing a mammoth, another big defeat was seemingly on the cards. But openers Dev Khanal and Santosh Karki gave Nepal the start they would have wanted.

Skipper Dev and Santosh began with a 59-run partnership in 11 overs before they lost both the openers and two new batsmen in a space of 33 runs. Santosh made a run-a-ball 34 with four boundaries and a six, while Dev scored 28 from 45 with four hits to the fence.

Arjun Saud and Bashir Ahmed resurrected the Nepali innings with a 75-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Bashir scored a gritty 51-ball 43 hitting three fours and two sixes.

Arjun added another 41 runs with Bibek Yadav who at one stage looked set for doing unthinkable smashing a 29-ball 46. Bibek struck three sixes and as many boundaries. Arjun made 80-ball 64 with three fours and two sixes.

The departure of both batsmen officially ended Nepal’s resistance. Matheesha Pathirana took 3-49 from 8.5 overs, while Raveen di Silva also took 3-35 from his seven-over spell.

Earlier, Nepal struck in the 11th over through Dev who sent opener Shevon Daniel with a return catch. But the joy was momentous. Wickramasinghe and Rajapaksa put on a defining 223-run stand for the second wicket leaving Nepali bowlers clueless. Nepal managed to pick up the last three wickets only in the last 10 overs.

Rajapaksa made a 119-ball 131 with 11 fours and two sixes. Wickramasinghe scored 111 from 126 deliveries hitting eight fours and two maximums. Aadil Ansari took 2-46 from nine overs and Bibek also picked up a wicket for Nepal.

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