Kathmandu- If you see the history of youth cricket at Asian Level you’ll find Nepal U19 and Afghanistan U19 sharing the trophy six time between them with the former winning it four consecutive times. Apart from Nepal U19 and Afghan U19, only Hong Kong once and Bangladesh U19 twice (before being a test nation), no other Asian associates have won the ACC Elite Cup or the Premier League. There was an era, when Nepal U19 used to shock the cricketing world winning trophies after trophies at Asian level and bringing in their best performance against youth teams of test playing nations.
Having conquered the ACC U19 Premier League and elite cup consecutively for the past two times and having made it to the quarter finals of U19 World Cup 2014, Afghan U19 like their senior team have emerged as a brutal force. Spirited Afghan U19 not only win games but win it like champions. Nepal’s dream of wining ACC U19 Elite Cup for the fifth consecutive time was thrashed by Afghan U19 when they defeated Nepal in the semi-finals of 2009 ACC Elite Cup.
I’m bringing these two stories to you just to show you that ACC Elite Cup have always been a two horse race since its beginning may it be Nepal U19 and Malaysia U19 between 2001-2007 or Nepal U19 and Afghan U19 after that and now. So, tomorrow’s match between Nepal U19 and Afghan U19 can be a title decider like it happened last year. However, we can count off host Malaysia after they recorded an impressive 181 runs win over Saudi Arabia on Friday.
Spinners Sushil Kandel 4 wickets, Sunil Dhamala 3 wickets and Prem Tamang 2wickets took nine of the ten wickets in Nepal’s astounding 149 runs win over UAE U19 today while Afghan U19 chased 104 runs in the 14th over with opener Hazratullah scoring 47 runs in just 37 balls. Nepal U19 have got strong spin attack, batting looks a bit filthy though. Had Skipper Raju Rijal’s 60 runs off 84 balls not come in time, Nepal could have been in trouble today.
Afghanistan U19, meanwhile have a balanced team. They have got fast bowlers, spinners and good pair of opening batsman. Nepal U19 must get wickets with the new ball if they are to stop Afghan U19 from a big score. Another positive aspect for Nepal is the long batting line up they possess.
Both the teams are champions. UAE U19 surrendered easily against Nepal while Kuwait U19 did the same. The real test for both teams is tomorrow. Whoever plays good cricket will win the game tomorrow.
Nepal U19 Vs Afghanistan U19 Face To Face ( Nepal 2 Afghanistan 3)
Nepal U19 faced Afghan U19 first time in the finals of 2007 ACC U19 Elite Cup. Nepal then led by Paras Khadka thrashed a spirited Afghan side by 48 runs. Afghanistan took the revenge back defeating Nepal in the semi-finals of 2009 ACC Elite Cup.
In 2011 ACC Elite Cup, Nepal U19 and Afghan U19 were placed in the same group. Nepal defeated Afghanistan by six wickets in the group stage to top the table but Afghanistan took a sweet revenge beating Nepal by 61 runs in the final. Afghanistan also defeated Nepal by five wickets in last year’s ACC Premier League.