In a nail-biting encounter labeled as a ‘Do or Die’ game, Nepal U-19 emerged victorious against Afghanistan by a slender margin of 1 wicket, propelling them into the coveted Super Six stage of the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa. After losing their opening two matches, Nepal faced a must-win clash, and they delivered in remarkable style.
Enduring defeats in their initial two matches against New Zealand and Pakistan, Nepal’s journey to the Super Six hinged on overcoming Afghanistan. In a tense battle, they successfully chased down the target of 146 runs set by Afghanistan at Buffalo Park in 44.4 overs, losing 9 wickets along the way.
Chasing Afghanistan’s modest total of 146, Nepal’s top order stumbled, losing three wickets for just 24 runs.
Opener Arjun Kumal got out scoring 10 and Bipin Rawal got out after scoring 2 runs and Gulsan Jha also managed to score only 1 run. Captain Dev Khanal shared a 49-run partnership with Aakash Tripathi for the fourth wicket from 24/3.
In the twenty-fourth over, Tripathi was dismissed for 16 runs. After that, Nepal’s innings got into trouble again when Deepak Dumre scored 5 runs and Dipesh Kandel scored 4 runs. Dev added 36 runs with Dipak Bohra from the situation of losing 6 wickets for 91 runs. Ghazanfar brought Afghanistan back into the game by catching Dev behind the wicket in the 37th over. Dev scored 58 runs off 89 balls with 7 fours.
Bohra added 13 runs with Subas Bhandari for the eighth wicket. Needing 6 runs to win, Deepak Bohra, who scored 27 runs, was bowled by Faridoon Dawoodzai. With 2 runs needed to win, Dawoodzai.took the game into a romantic mode by bowling Akash Chand in the last ball of the forty-fourth over. With 1 wicket to spare, Arab Gul bowled a wide in the first ball of the forty-fifth over to level the scores. Then he did not give a run in 3 consecutive balls. In the fourth ball, Subas hit a four and Nepal won. Subash Score 9 run from 29 balls hitting a boundary remained unbeaten.
Faridoon Dawoodzai took the most 3 wickets in Afghanistan’s bowling. Khalil Ahmed and Naseer Khan Maroofkhil took 2 wickets each.
In the first innings, after winning the toss and opting to bat, Afghanistan faced a formidable challenge from Nepal’s Aakash Chand, who showcased deadly bowling skills by taking 5 wickets. Afghanistan’s innings concluded at 145 runs in 40.1 overs.
Despite a commendable effort from captain Naseer Khan, who scored 31 runs, and an explosive cameo from Allah Mohammad (37 runs in 21 balls), Aakash Chand’s impactful performance restricted Afghanistan’s total.
In Nepal’s bowling, Aakash Chand took 5 wickets and spent 34 runs in 8 overs. Dipesh Kandel took 2 wickets and Gulsan Jha, Subash Bhandari and Tilak Bhandari took 1 wicket each.