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Openers Aasif, Sandeep repay Das faith

Nepal coach Binod Das has always backed his openers, particularly Aasif Sheikh despite his failures in the recent games. And finally, the opener has repaid his coach for the faith that he had kept in him.

Aasif starred in a century opening partnership with Sandeep Sunar as Nepal crushed Malaysia by 10 wickets for a resounding victory ahead of the final against Hong Kong. Aasif and Sunar didn’t have best of the tournaments when the team flopped with the bat in Singapore during the ICC U-19 World Cup Division 1 Asia Qualifiers.

Singapore Qualifiers was an outing where his openers couldn’t give their best even when the team was chasing double-figure target against lowly Malaysia and Singapore. But, Saturday’s performance has forced Das to leave that dejection behind as both batsmen hit timely half centuries to find back form.

“They had been getting good starts but were unable to convert them. Today, they have proved why they are highly rated,” an elated Das told cricketingnepal from Kuala Lumpur. But the task is not yet over for the opening duo.

Nepal are taking on Hong Kong in a crucial final match of the ACC U-19 Eastern Region where only a victory can seal them a spot in November’s ACC U-19 Asia Cup. Hong Kong is a side that are unbeaten like Nepal in the tournament.

They swept aside Singapore by seven wickets in chase of 158 runs in the other semi-final on Saturday, giving a hint that they are not in Malaysia to make up the numbers. Aasif and Sandeep’s performance will be crucial when Nepal take to the field for Sunday’s final. Das just wants his side to keep the basics right.

“They (Hong Kong) must be a decent side. When you have so many expats playing for a team, you can’t take them lightly but we have been able to perform our skills well so far. So there is no reason why we can’t do it again tomorrow,” said Das.

“If we stick to our processes, things should be just fine.”

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