KATHMANDU: Skipper Prithu Baskota led Nepal Under-19 team to a stunning six-wicket win over star-studded Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) in a practice match here at the Tribhuvan University Stadium today.
Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) organised the match as part of Nepal’s preparation for the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier stated for July 28 to August 9 in Ireland. Put into bat first after losing the toss, the departmental side — who boosts senior team regulars in skipper Paras Khadka, Sharad Vesawkar, Gyanendra Malla, Shakti Gauchan, Mehboob Alam, Basant Regmi to name a few — were bundled out for 97 runs in 30.2 overs. The U-19 side surpassed the total for the loss of four wickets in 32.1 overs.
Apart from No 7 batsman Alam, who top scored with 34, no other APF batsman were able to contribute significantly against the sharp bowling from the juniors. Alam hit a six and a four in his 43-ball knock. Opener Paresh Lohani (17), Vesawkar (19) and Gauchan (11) were the other APF batsman to reach double figures.
Left-arm spinner Rahul Kumar BK was the pick of the U-19 team with figures of 3-14 from 3.2 overs while Rupesh Shrivastav took 2-17 from six overs. Bhuwan Karki, Nischal Pandey, Amit Dahal and skipper Prithu also snared a wicket apiece.
The U-19 side were tottering at 22-4 after 10.1 overs before Prithu and Naresh Budhayer put on an unfinished 79-run stand for the fifth wicket to guide their team to an astonishing victory with more than two overs to spare. Man-of-the-match Prithu struck one six and as may four in his unbeaten 69-ball 48 while Naresh supported his skipper with a patient 12 from 66 deliveries. Amrit Bhattarai, Alam, Paras and Basant took one wicket each for the departmental giants.
It was the second match that the CAN has organised to lend practice to the U-19 national team. On Thursday, the U-19 team led by Rahul BK hand defeated Prithu-XI by four wickets.