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Ton up for Imam as Nepal lose opener to Pak

Nepal lost to Pakistan U-23 by six wickets in their first Group ‘B’ match of the ACC Emerging Teams Cup at the Sheikh Kamal International Stadium in Cox Bazaar, Bangladesh on Monday.

Put in to bat first, a half century partnership between Sunil Dhamala and Sharad Vesawkar guided Nepal to 180-9 in 50 overs before a scintillating century from opener Imam-ul-Haq guided Pakistan to 183-4 in 45.1 overs.

Imam had written his name all over Pakistan chase as carried the bat with beginning with a 67-run opening wicket partnership with Imran Butt (21). Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane provided Nepal the first breakthrough but Imam continued to play with guile adding another 44 runs with Haris Sohail (17).

Skipper Gyanendra Malla picked up two with his part time off spin and Sandeep had another scalp reducing Pakistan to 139-4 in 33.4 overs. However, Imam held firm and along with Hammad Tazim (22 not out) sailed the team home.

Imam remained unbeaten on 104 off 135 balls hitting nine boundaries. The match saw national team debut of seamer Dipesh Shrestha and left arm spinner Sushan Bhari with both going wicket-less.

Earlier, Nepal lost opener Gyanendra (two) and Sagar Pun (four) to Ghulam Mudassar and Dipendra Singh Airee (14) to get reduced to 42-3 in 14.3 overs.

Sunil and Sharad then shared 79 runs for the fourth wicket earning respectability to the team total. Sunil got stuck to the crease making 43 off 125 balls hitting three boundaries. Sharad made 38 off 59 with two fours.

Binod Bhandari hit a six and two fours in his 32-ball 20 and Aarif Sheikh chipped in 18 not out off 30 wih a four as the duo added 40 runs for the seventh wicket. Mudassar was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers taking 5-26 from 10 overs.

In another Group ‘B’ match, Bangladesh crushed Hong Kong by eight wickets. Nepal will take on hosts Bangladesh U-23 on Tuesday.

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