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U-16 boys in semis with one match in hand

Nepal reached the semi-finals of the ACC U-19 Eastern Region with one match in hand following a four-wicket victory over Hong Kong at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Tuesday.

Electing to bat first, Hong Kong could only manage 82-9 in 35 overs before Nepal reached 84-6 in 24.1 overs. The result saw Nepal solidify their position in the top spot with four points from two matches having already beaten Thailand by 133 runs in the Group ‘A’ opener on Monday.

Hong Kong and Thailand have two points each with only run rate separating the two teams. They meet each other on Thursday to decide the other team to reach the semi-finals from the pool. Nepal play lowly ranked Myanmar on Thursday where a victory would make them group winners.

In the match, Partish GC gave early breakthroughs and Nepal never looked back in the game reducing Hong Kong to 45-7 in 24.4 overs. Man-of-the-match Ajay Kumar Loniya produced the magical figures of 2-2 from seven overs including five maiden as Hong Kong’s innings was left in tatters.

Aryan Sharad Shetty spared Hong Kong blues sharing 35 runs for the eighth wicket with Mohammad Hassan who made two runs in his 28-ball stay at the crease. Aryan made 24 from 39 balls with two sixes and a boundary.

Kalhan Challu was Hong Kong’s next best scorer with 16 off 32 that included two boundaries. Aarush Bhawat (12) was the remaining batsman to make runs in double figures. Pratish picked up 3-15 from seven overs, while Narayan Joshi and Nikhil Kumar Singh had a scalp each.

Nepal struggled in their chase and were reduced to 34-4 after losing opener Kushal Malla (two), Bishal Bikram KC (11), skipper Rit Gautam (duck) and Narayan (two) cheaply.

But Monday’s top scorer Trit Raj Das stuck to the crease and together with another opener Rajan Magar and Sunil Bhandari (11 not out) guided the team towards victory. Trit, who had scored 39 against Thailand, continued his form with a 46-ball 27 that included three boundaries.

Rajan chipped in 17 from 43 balls. Both Rajan and Sunil hit a boundary each. Nepal’s struggle was sparked by Nasrulla Rana who was economical in his seven-over spell taking 3-11 with one maiden. 

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