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Nepal vs Afghanistan: A fight Nepal needs to win on its own

Nepal won their last of the four ACC U-19 Elite Cup titles defeating Afghanistan by 48 runs in the 2007 edition when current national team skipper Paras Khadka did it as a junior cricketer sending Nepal in the ICC U-19 World Cup.


Next edition in 2009, Gyanendra Malla led the Nepali squad only to see resurgence of the Afghans who defeated Nepal by six wickets. Although Afghanistan lost the final to eventual champions Hong Kong, the emergence of the war-torn nation was already evident as it was the time when their senior cricketers were taking a giant leap towards the world cricket.



Afghanistan have long been in Division-I, the giants of the Associates who played two Twenty20 U-19 World Cups and are now itching to grab the attention of the whole world through the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.


The rise of their senior team has not been an overnight story. Afghanistan are now prepared to bring quality cricketers for the next five to ten years. While the seniors kept on scaling new heights, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) also took the game seriously and are successfully working towards building a solid base.


The ACB has pitched their plans perfectly to the global cricket governing body and on their part have executed their plans. The current U-19 Afghan team is the result of ACB’s clinical performance in their administration. A fresh example of ACB’s result is how their Asian Games team that was mixed with a majority of junior cricketers floored Nepal and Hong Kong.


And up against them in the ACC U-19 Premier on Friday will be Nepali junior cricketers who have been haunted by the inefficiency of their own board. While Afghanistan headed for the ACC U-19 Premier riding high on confidence following a 2-1 series victory over Pakistan U-19, Nepali colts have spent their time struggling at the same old TU Stadium that recently witnessed a half-constructed indoor hall.


The Afghan youngsters have been playing cricket for quite a long time and the Nepali cricketers have been assembled for 18-days training after what comes in a disguise of country’s biggest age group cricket – the U-19 Nationals with 9 regions.


Afghanistan has so far outperformed everyone. They have amassed runs, taken the heart out of the opponents’ batting order and underlined the title credentials with blow of a huge trumpet. Afghanistan recently claimed ACC U-16 Elite, they won the ACC Premier League and are now hunting for the ACC U-19 Premier. They are twice the winners of this tournament and their title triumph will be customary.


The only surprise would be Nepal’s victory that had lifted the past titles of their own strength. Any Afghan team will always have its board to back from the behind but for our juniors it is the fight they have to win on their own.

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