Nepal lost to India U-23 by 84 runs in their second match of the ACC Emerging Teams Cup but a half century from Sagar Pun after a middle order collapse earned some respect against the age group team from the Asian Test playing giants.
At the SCC grounds in Singapore where Nepal had experienced a bitter three-run loss against Afghanistan on Saturday, Indian openers provided their team a solid impetus with a 118-run stand lifting the team to 268-5 in 50 overs after they were put to bat first. From 49-0, Nepal slumped to 99-7 in their reply before Sagar made an unbeaten 52 off 61 balls lifting the team to 184-8.
Openers Subash Khakurel and Anil Mandal were circumspect in the chase adding 49 runs for the first wicket. Subash made 29 off 60 with three boundaries and Anil made 19 off 49 with a four before their dismissal in consecutive deliveries rocked Nepal.
Skipper Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla tried to consolidate putting 21 runs but after both batsmen departed in a space of six runs, the crack in the middle order was already visible. Sharad Vesawkar (two), Binod Bhandari (one), Prithu Baskota (eight — that included a six) didn’t last long. Sagar then shared 30 runs with Basanta Regmi (six) and an unbeaten 55-run stand for the ninth wicket with Shakti Gauchan.
Sagar was playing his second international match with the national team and on Tuesday he dealt with Indian bowlers with patience hitting seven boundaries. He completed his half century in the last ball of the innings with a boundary after Ankit Bawne dropped his return catch. Shakti hit a six making 14 off 28.
Earlier, Nepali bowlers spilled 90 runs in their last 10 overs after Indian skipper Surya Kumar Yadav made full use of a solid start making 65 off just 39 balls. Openers Lokesh Rahul and Unmukt Chand dealt with Nepali bowlers positively taking across triple figures allowing their middle order to cut loose.
The 2012 ICC U-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt hit three sixes and four boundaries in 77 balls to make 61 before he nicked a catch to Subash Khakurel off Shakti. Rahul added another 42 runs with Manprit Juneja and lost his wicket to Basanta caught by Gyanendra.
Rahul struck a patient 88 clobbering eight boundaries and two sixes in 123 deliveries. Basanta then had Juneja (nine) caught by Sagar with Indian scorecard reading 161-3. However, Yadav ensured there was no respite for Nepal as he blasted eight boundaries and two sixes in his cameo sharing 90 runs with Bawne (25).
Basanta took three wickets but was the most expensive bowlers from Nepal bleeding 90 runs in his 10 overs. Avinash Karn returned with 1-46 from his 10. Nepal will now play Pakistan U-23 on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka pass UAE test
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, cruised to their second victory in Group ‘B’ after passing a patient UAE batting test to file a 30-run victory at the Kallang grounds.
Batting first, a scintillating century from opener Shehan Jayasuriya gave Lankans a formidable score of 235-8 under difficult batting conditions. UAE batsmen played patiently in reply but ultimately experience of Sri Lankan players weighed heavier over them as they ended up making 205-9.
After getting reduced to 25-2 in 5.2 overs, Shaiman Anwar and Saqib Ali shared 83 runs for the third wicket taking UAE across triple figures. Other middle order batsmen also managed to get amongst the runs but the effort was not enough.
Saqib made 71 off 109 with three boundaries and a six, while Anwar who had made a fluent century against Singapore on Monday scored 53 from 85 that included three hits to the fence. Lahiru Jayaratne took three wickets for Sri Lanka, while Charith Jayampathi (2-41) and Chathuranga Kumar (2-30) shared four wickets between them.
Sri Lankan innings revolved around the solid batting from Jayasuriya who made 101 off 121 with four boundaries and three sixes. He added 57 runs for the opening wicket with Udaya Jayasundera to build the platform for a big total. Jayasundera made 38 from 43 with five boundaries and a six. Nasir Aziz took three wickets for the UAE.