ICC Under 19 World Cup: India Beat Nepal by 132 Runs to Book Spot in Semi-final


India defeated Nepal by 132 runs to book their spot in the semi-final of the Under-19 World Cup at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Saumy Pandey was the pick of the Indian bowlers as he took four wickets and Arshin Kulkarni got two. Raj Limbani, Aaradhay Shukla and Murugan Abhishek all picked up one wicket each but failed to bowl out Nepal as they finished with 165/0 from their 50 overs.

IND U-19 vs NEP U-19 – HIGHLIGHTS

The tournament favourites, who now have eight points, then limited the Himalayan nation to 165 for nine and in the semis, India are all set to face South Africa at Benoni on Tuesday.

However, Nepal made a rather strong start to their chase reaching 65 for 1 in the 14th over before they fell headlong, losing six wickets for a mere 12 runs to be placed at 77 for 7 in the 28th over..

Left-arm spinner Saumy Pandey, who now has 16 wickets to be placed at the second spot in the tournament’s highest wicket-taker list, sparked the collapse with figures of 10-1-29-4.

The only silver lining for Nepal was the unbroken last wicket partnership of Aakash Chand (18 not out) and Durgesh Gupta (29 not out) who put together 45 runs to cover the stipulated 50 overs.

Before Pandey entered the stage, new ball bowler Raj Limbani initiated the downfall by dismissing Deepak Bohara, who managed 22 runs off 42 balls.

Bohara attempted a big shot but fell victim to the pace, offering a simple return catch to the bowler.

Pandey soon joined the party.

First, he removed Uttam Magar (8), who struggled to find gaps and fell while attempting an aggressive shot, finding the fielder at mid-on.

Pandey then delivered the ball of the match, clean-bowling Arjun Kumal (26). The delivery that had some bounce straightened to hit the inside of the off-stump.

The Nepalese batting order continued to crumble under relentless pressure.

From being 77/7 in 27.5 overs, skipper Dev Khanal delayed the inevitable with a valiant 33 from 53 balls.

But India also struggled to wrap up the issue at this stage that could have given them a fourth successive 200+ margin victory in this event.

The Indians also had an injury scare as regular wicketkeeper batter Aravalli Avanish had to go out with a right-hand injury as Innesh Mahajan kept the wickets.

Earlier, Sachin Dhas and skipper Uday Saharan hit fluent centuries and lifted India from a tricky 62/3 to a formidable 297/5 in their final Group 1 Super Six match against Nepal.

Dhas punished the Nepal bowling attack in his innings of 116 runs off 101 balls which included 11 boundaries and three sixes.

Saharan on the other hand played with utmost patience and made 100 off 107 balls (9×4) as the duo weathered the early storm with a record partnership of 215 that came off just 202 balls.

This was India’s highest partnership of the tournament.

Following hundreds by Dhas and Saharan, India now have five centuries in this year’s tournament.

Underlining their dominance with the bat, India have so far scored two 300-plus totals, while two others have been in excess of 290 from five matches of this global showpiece.

Opting to bat, India got off to a brisk start with Adarsh Singh scoring 21 off 18 balls before falling prey to Gulsan Jha’s short ball tactic.

Singh edged one down the leg side to be caught by wicketkeeper Uttam Magar, as Nepal made early inroads in the first powerplay.

The Indians were rattled further with the dismissals of Arshin Kulkarni (18) and Priyanshu Moliya (19) in a space of three balls.

However, the momentum shifted dramatically with a game-changing partnership between skipper Saharan and Dhas.

Saharan anchored the innings, playing second fiddle to the aggressive Dhas.

Promoted to No. 5 due to the loss of early wickets, Dhas bossed the day with his controlled yet aggressive batting.

In previous matches, Dhas batted lower down the order, either at No 6 or 7, limiting his opportunities to express himself.

However, the day’s innings saw Dhas assert himself from the start.

Dhas showed a keen eye for picking loose deliveries and target specific bowlers and areas on the field to score his runs.

Playing positively, he took control of the situation, scoring all around the wicket and keeping the opposition bowlers at bay.

He paced his innings beautifully, completing his maiden fifty of the tournament in just 50 balls.

There was a moment when off-spinner Dev Khanal attempted to contain Dhas by dragging his length back. In response, Dhas unleashed a powerful pull shot over wide long-on for a six, demonstrating his clean hitting skills.

Dhas played a delightful inside-out shot against off-spinner Bhandari, the boundary taking him to 99.

In the very next delivery, he elegantly nudged the ball to long-on to reach a well-deserved century, which came off 93 balls.

(With inputs from Agencies)



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