Sandeep Lamichhane picked up seven wickets as Nepal defeated Malaysia by five wickets in the ICC U-19 World Cup Division 1 Qualifier for Asia Region at the Indian Association Ground in Singapore.
Leg spinner Sandeep, who had the figures of 5-21 (against Singapore) and 5-17 (against Malaysia) in the first two matches, picked up 7-13 to hand Nepal a victory that has still kept the country’s hopes of reaching next year’s U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. However, the team requires a huge-margin victory over arch rivals Afghanistan in their final league match.
Afghanistan, who had crushed Nepal by 141 runs in the first leg, currently lead the table with 10 points following their fifth straight victory. Nepal have eight points from five games.
Sandeep’s fine performance with the ball was once again the highlight of the day as Nepal bundled out Malaysia for just 89 runs in 39.1 overs. Nepal reached 92 runs in 22.2 overs but not before losing five wickets as the team’s batting woes continued to haunt them.
Debutant Rijan Dhakal struck in the second over for Nepal but Malaysia began the resurrection of their innings with a 58-run partnership between opener Syed Aziz and Virandeep Singh (10). Sandeep came up with the ball in the 18th over and provided the much-needed breakthrough with the prized scalp of Aziz, who was out for 46 from 66 balls with seven boundaries and a six.
He returned the next over and removed Virandeep as Malaysia began to collapse under the spin threat. Sahab Alam ably supported his captain picking up 2-23.
For the first time in the tournament, Nepal managed to reach 30 runs without a damage courtesy Sandeep Sunar (15) and Anil Sah (12). Both batsmen hit two boundaries and fell to Hafizudding.
Virandeep then removed Pranit Thapa Magar (eight), Aadil Khan (duck) and Prakash KC (duck) in quick succession reducing Nepal to 40-5 in 11.3 overs. But Dipendra Singh Airee and Rohit Kumar Paudyal completed the chase with an unbroken 52-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Rohit made 34 off 37 balls with six boundaries, while Dipendra scored 19 off 29 hitting one boundary.