In a challenging encounter at the ICC Academy Oval 2 ground in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Nepal suffered a defeat at the hands of Afghanistan by 73 runs in the second match of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup Cricket group stage. This follows their earlier loss to Pakistan in the opening match.
Chasing a formidable target of 262 runs for victory, Nepal’s batsmen struggled, managing only 188 runs for the loss of all wickets in 40.1 overs. Despite a commendable effort from Arjun Kumal, who top-scored with an impressive 91 runs ( 108 balls, 13 fours ), Nepal fell short of the target. Other notable contributions came from Dev Khanal (24 runs), Gulsan Jha (17 runs), Deepak Bohora (15 runs), and Dipeshh Kandel (11 runs).
Afghanistan’s bowling duo of Naseer Khan Maroofkhil and Faridoon Dawoodzai proved pivotal, each claiming three wickets. Mohammad Younus took two wickets, while Wahidullah Zadran and Khalel Ahmad secured one wicket each.
In the first innings, after losing the toss and being invited to bat, Afghanistan posted a competitive total of 261 runs in 49.3 overs. Jamshid Zadran played a stellar unbeaten innings, scoring a century with 106 runs in 152 balls, featuring eight fours.
Nepal’s bowlers put up a fight, with Hemant Dhami, Subash Bhandari, and Gulsan Jha taking two wickets each. Aakash Chand and Dipesh Kandel also contributed with one wicket each.
With two consecutive losses, Nepal’s chances of advancing to the semi-finals are hanging by a thread in Group A, which includes cricket powerhouses India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Group B consists of hosts UAE, Japan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
The ACC U-19 Asia Cup holds particular significance as a preparatory event for the upcoming ICC U-19 World Cup in South Africa. Nepal’s final group match is against India on the 12th, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semi-finals.