Nepal U19 team survived a narrow victory of 8 runs agaisnt Namibia in the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifier match played at Drummond Cricket Club, Drummond today.
Winning the toss, Skipper Prithu Baskota has no hesitation to bat first, although they had a poor opening starts in their previous matches. But, it was a new day and new opponent. The body language of the openers looked quite different today. Openers Sagar Pun(39) and Subash Khakurel(33) together, made a solid start for the team with a partnership of 79 runs. 9 glorious boundaries were scored on that partnership. Fajlur Rahman, the other opener was left out today due to lack of form.
Once the opening partnership was dismissed as Subash Khakurel was caught by Lotter off Commbe on 20th over, the shaky middle order was exposed. They could not capitalize the top order’s contribution on this match as well. Sagar became the successive victim of Commbe on 24th over. Skipper was struggling throughout the tournament with the bat, failed once again without troubling the scorer.
Meanwhile, Naresh Budayair who came at No. 3, played a promising fifty for his team. It was his patience inning that held the team’s batting today. He & Pradeep Airee(33) took the score from 94/4 to 173/5 in 42nd over. They had a 79 runs partnership for the 5th wicket. When Airee was out, it was all upto lower orders and Naresh was still at the crease. Partnership was crucial at that stage but the batting from tails seemed like nine pins down. No one supported him really. He made a solid 51 off 82 balls with a four and a six before bowled out on Commbe’s bowl. The remaining two wickets, some how managed to put a competitive score of 217 runs on the board before bowled out in 49.5 over.
CW Coombe took 6 vital wickets for Namibia, five of them were top order batsmen. His match figure was 6-41 in this 10 over. Sj Baard took 2-35 in his ten overs.
During the chase, Namibia lost the early wickets as they were at 11/3 at one stage. But a spirited fightback from middle and lower order got them back into the game. At 43 for 5 after 17 overs, Namibia were reeling but Merwe Erasmus and Christopher Coombe began a recovery with a 78-run partnership. Coombe’s 30 runs, though, took 76 balls, and when he fell in the 39th over Namibia needed 97 from 67 balls. Shalako Groenewald nearly got them there, with his boundary-filled 44 off 35 balls but he was dismissed by seamer Krishna Karki, who then got rid of Erasmus for 63 (77b, 1×4, 3×6) two balls later.
The effort from the Nepali bowlers took Nepal to a close victory by 8 runs. At the depth overs, Namibia looked like they would easily won the match. But, Nepali Bowlers pooled the the match as wicket started to go down.
At 49.5 over, Nepal bowled out Namibia and won the match by 8 runs. “The match was much more interesting and it really holded the nerve of ours”, cricnepal fan said.
Christopher Coombe earned a Man of the match award for his all round performance today. He picked up his career best haul of 6-41 to run through the Nepal middle and lower-order and also scored 30 runs from his blade. “This (6-41) was my best spell at any level. The pitch assisted me a bit. While batting, I thought, we could win the game. I had to stay there long enough. Unfortunately, that was not the case today. But hopefully we can come back stronger.” he told.
With this win, Nepal’s hope are alive to participate in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup to be played in Australia & New Zealand.
Meanwhile, there were some issues today on the score as the teams total varied from Cricket Ireland source and ICC source as the headline was to be as “Nepal scored 224 and won by 11 runs” but it had been clarified and we have received the match official scorecard from ICC Officials.
Nepal will play against strong Ireland team on Saturday.
Fall of wickets:
For Nepal: 1-79 (Khakurel, 19.2 ov), 2-90 (Sagar Pun, 23.1 ov), 3-94 (Pandey, 25.1 ov), 4-94 (Baskota, 25.6 ov), 5-173 (Airee, 41.5 ov), 6-182 (Pulami Magar, 44.2 ov), 7-185 (Vishvakarma, 45.2 ov), 8-205 (Budayair, 47.3 ov), 9-211 (K Karki, 48.5 ov), 10-217 (B Karki, 49.5 ov)
For Namibia: 1-1 (J Baard, 0.2 ov), 2-1 (PC Groenewald, 0.4 ov), 3-11 (SJ Baard, 5.3 ov), 4-40 (Lotter, 15.3 ov), 5-43 (van Vuuren, 16.6 ov), 6-121 (Coombe, 38.5 ov), 7-186 (S Groenewald, 47.2 ov), 8-188 (Erasmus, 47.4 ov), 9-209 (Bolton, 49.6 ov)
Rajesh KC & Nischal Tiwari for Cricnepal.com