Pawan Sarraf’s courageous innings and brilliant bowling display from Nepal’s bowlers helped them to register their first win of the Quadrangular U19 One Day Series. They edged Afghanistan by 25 runs.
Afghanistan’s captain, Mehran, won the toss and decided to field first. Kabir provided them first breakthrough in inning’s very first over. He sent back Nepal’s last match’s warrior, Trit Raj Das (4). Kabir didn’t stop there on, he took two more wickets in two consecutive overs. He sent back Arun Airee (00) as his second wicket before victimising Nepal’s skipper, Aasif Sheikh (03). Nepal were under deep pressure losing 3 wickets with only 7 runs on board. Sandeep Zora (28) and Lokesh Bam (16) tried to control the innings with 47 runs off 57 balls for 4th wicket. Zora was caught and bowled by Mohammadi as Nepal again scrambled there on with 3 wickets for 36 runs in that particular phase. Pawan Sarraf was the man who guided Nepal to respective total. He shared 65 and 30 runs partnership with Rashid Khan and Bhim Sharki respectively. Sarraf stood tall with unbeaten 77 runs off 96 balls. Rashid Khan scored vital 24 runs whereas Sharki added 13 runs for Nepal. In the end, all Nepal’s batsmen were on dressing room in 49.3 overs, scoring 189 runs. Kabir destroyed Nepal’s top order with 3 wickets in his tally.
Afghanistan was asked to score 190 runs from allocated 300 balls. They started it pretty well with 40 runs opening stand between Hassan (39) and Mohammadi (09). At one stage, they were looking comfortable with 40 runs for 0 wickets. Then, they lost 4 wickets for next 12 runs. Nepal’s emerging spinner, Sagar Dhakal, pushed back Afghanistan on pressure with 3 quick wickets, supported by a wicket from Kamal Singh Airee. Then 49 runs stand between Rahmani (37) and Dawlatzai (10) bought Afghans back on track. Sagar Dhakal and Pawan Sarraf hunted two wickets in pair during 36th&37 overs to keep context alive for Nepal. Match was on even condition as Afghanistan was in need of 65 runs off 74 balls and Nepal had 3 wickets to finish off the match. Then came the Nepal’s pace bowling duo of Kishor Mahato and Rashid Khan to finish off the things for Nepal. Mahato broke infant partnership of 23 runs between Jawad and Mehra. Rashid Khan picked up his first and very important wicket of Afghan’s skipper, Mehran, who was batting on 57 runs. Khan sent back Ghani to dismiss Afghanistan for 164 runs in 47.4 overs. Sagar Dhakal picked up maximum 4 wickets for Nepal whereas Rashid Khan and Kamal Airee picked up 2 wickets each. Sarraf also accounted a wicket in his tally.
Nepal and Afghanistan will face each other on 18th September on 3rd place playoff.