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Nepal put up a clinical bowling performance to thrash Zimbabwe by 99 runs in the plate quarterfinal of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup at the MPTI ground on Sunday.

New ball bowlers Paras Khadka and Amrit Bhattarai took three wickets each in their opening spells to rip the heart out of the Zimbabwean attack after Nepal put up 158 runs. The victory set up semifinal clash with Namibia, which beat host Malaysia by nine wickets in the other quarterfinal.

Paras and Amrit extracted prodigious seam movement from the helpful pitch to reduce the Africans to 24/6 in 12.4 overs making the Test nation pay for the decision to chase for victory. The quickies took wickets in tandem with Paras taking lead and Amrit following thrice.

Rahul Biswokarma took a wicket and left-arm spinner Raj Shrestha took the remaining three to fashion an emphatic victory. This was Nepal’s sixth victory over a Test nation in the event since 2002.

“We did not expect to win by that margin,” a relieved Paras conceded. “Amrit and I managed to put the ball on the right spots and the pitch provided seam movement.”

Tinanshe Chimbambo topscored with 20 before Mahesh Chhetri stumped him while Solomon Mire remained not out on 16 as none of other Zimbabwean batsmen reached the double figures.

The Zimbabweans who had chased 203 against Nepal in a practice match on the Valentine’s Day were all at sea with the moving ball and surrendered meekly for yet another capitulation against an associate country after going down to Malaysia in a group game.

“Our batsmen struggled with seaming ball. They bowled exceptionally,” Zimbabwean coach Shepherd Makunura said.

The first six wickets to fall proved the amount of seam movement. Three were caught behind, one caught at slip, one adjudged lbw and the other bowled. Mahesh, apart from three catches, affected two stumpings to cap a fruitful day after scoring 16 as an opener.

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Puspa Thapa during his knock. ICC PHOTO

Paras was adjudged man of the match, but also the hero of the match was Puspa Thapa. The diminutive batsman came in at 59 and lost Akash Gupta at 79/7 but shouldered the responsibility and played his knock of career scoring 40 runs to take Nepal to a defendable total.

“I am very happy to have taken responsibility,” he said about the innings. “I remembered the words of wisdom from my coaches and seniors,” the low-profile lad said adding that he would like to dedicate his inning for national player Yunil Shrestha, his home-town hero.

Nepal looked set to be condemned for a lowly total after yet another top-order failure but Puspa added vital 53 runs for the eighth wicket with Raj to give something for the bowlers to bowl on. He looked untroubled in his 48-ball innings laced with three fours and a six.

Raj then added another valuable 20 runs with the last man Amrit Bhattarai (9 not out) before getting out for 19 while going for a big hit in the 46th over. “Our bowlers bowled well but a couple of Nepalis guys played well,” Makunura added.

“Their fast bowlers bowled well but Puspa and Raj batted well to resurrect our innings,” Paras said worrying about the batting failure.

Opener Anil Mandal fell for one, Gyanendra made another duck and the skipper himself was out after playing fluently for 20 as Nepal lost four wickets in the 50s to be reduced to 59-6. Stewart Matsika and Edzal Jaure took three wickets each for Zimbabwe.

“I am satisfied with the bowling but not satisfied overall,” Nepali coach Roy Dias said. “Puspa, Raj and even Amrit put their heads down and batted well but I am still worried about batting.” Assistant coach Jagat Tamata was also unhappy about the batting failure. “Bowling and fielding won us the match,” he quipped.

Nepal U-19 Innings 158 All Out (Overs 45.1)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
M Chhetri+ c P Masvaure b E Jaure 16 48 0 0
A Mandal lbw b P Masvaure 1 5 0 0
G Malla   b K Jarvis 0 7 0 0
P Khadka* c P Masvaure b E Jaure 20 32 1 1
S Khadka lbw b S Matsika 2 19 0 0
A Gupta c J Gaisford b S Matsika 9 15 2 0
R Biswokarma c J Gaisford b S Matsika 0 3 0 0
P Thapa run out S Moor   40 49 3 1
R Shrestha c P Masvaure b E Jaure 19 73 3 0
A Rana c P Masvaure b H Dinembira 2 7 0 0
A Bhattarai not out   9 13 0 0
extras   (b4 lb7 w28 nb1) 40      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 158      
1-12(A Mandal) 2-13(G Malla) 3-52(P Khadka) 4-56(M Chhetri) 5-58(S Khadka)
6-59(R Biswokarma) 7-79(A Gupta) 8-138(P Thapa) 9-143(A Rana) 10-158(R Shrestha)
Bowler O M R W wd nb
K Jarvis 10 2 30 1 8 1
P Masvaure 9 1 28 1 3
E Jaure 8.1 1 34 3 7
S Matsika 10 1 34 3 2
T Chitongo 7 0 16 0 2
H Dinembira 1 0 6 1
Zimbabwe U-19 Innings 59 All Out (Overs 27.2)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
H Dinembira c M Chhetri b A Bhattarai 1 17 0 0
T Mashonganyika c G Malla b P Khadka 0 11 0 0
S Moor c M Chhetri b A Bhattarai 4 11 0 0
T Chitongo c M Chhetri b P Khadka 1 8 0 0
P Masvaure* lbw b P Khadka 0 7 0 0
T Chimbambo+ st M Chhetri b R Biswokarma 20 34 3 0
J Gaisford lbw b A Bhattarai 3 6 0 0
S Mire not out   16 50 1 0
E Jaure lbw b R Shrestha 0 9 0 0
S Matsika   b R Shrestha 1 11 0 0
K Jarvis st M Chhetri b R Shrestha 0 1 0 0
extras   (b0 lb5 w8 nb0) 13      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 59      
1-5(T Mashonganyika) 2-10(S Moor) 3-13(T Chitongo) 4-13(H Dinembira)
5-15(P Masvaure) 6-24(J Gaisford) 7-52(T Chimbambo) 8-56(E Jaure) 9-58(S Matsika)
10-59(K Jarvis)
Bowler O M R W wd nb
A Bhattarai 8 0 14 3 4
P Khadka 7 2 13 3 1
R Shrestha 6.2 1 16 3 3
A Rana 2 0 8 0
R Biswokarma 4 2 3 1