In the ongoing ICC Under-19 World Cup in South Africa, Nepal faced a second defeat, this time to Pakistan, losing by 5 wickets at the Buffalo Park ground. In the first match, Nepal was defeated by New Zealand by 64 runs.
Despite setting a target of 198 runs, Pakistan achieved victory in 47.4 overs, led by an impressive opening partnership of 80 runs between Shamyl Hussain and Shahzaib Khan.
Nepal’s right-arm fast bowler, Akash Chand, played a crucial role by taking three wickets, causing a setback for Pakistan when they lost their openers Hussain and Khan for 37 runs. The turning point came when skipper Saad Baig was caught by Akash Tripathi without scoring. However, Azan Awais and Ahmed Hassan steadied the ship with a partnership of 64 runs for the fifth wicket, guiding Pakistan to the win. Awais remained unbeaten with a solid knock of 63 runs off 82 balls.
In the bowling of Nepal, Aakash Chand took 3 wickets during which 34 runs were spent in 9 overs. Dipesh Kandel and Aakash Tripathi took 1 wicket each.
After winning the toss, Nepal batted first and scored 197 runs in the scheduled 50 overs with the loss of all wickets.
Bipin Rawal scored the highest 39 runs for Nepal. Similarly, Deepak Dumre scored 26 runs, captain Dev Khanal scored 23 runs, Subash Bhandari scored 20 runs, Gulsan Jha scored 18 runs, Aakash Chand scored 16 runs and Dipesh Kandel scored 13 runs.
After losing 2 wickets for 80 runs at one time, Nepal lost 6 wickets for 127 runs after losing consecutive wickets. Then, with the contribution of Deepak Dumre, Dipesh Kandel, Subas Bhandari and Akash Chand in the lower order, Nepal was able to prepare a competitive total.
Pakistan’s Arafat Minhas took three wickets in bowling. Ahmed Hassan and Ubaid Shah took two wickets each.
Looking ahead in the tournament, Nepal will face Afghanistan in the final group stage match on Friday (February 26). A victory against Afghanistan is crucial for Nepal’s chances of advancing to the Super Six stage.
In Group ‘D’ of the 16-team tournament, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, and Nepal are vying for the top three spots to progress to the Super-Six stage. Following the conclusion of the group stage, the 12 teams in the Super Six stage will be divided into two groups for the next phase of the competition.