Nepal loses to Afghanistan, finishes fourth in U-19 quadrangular series

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Nepal U-19 finished fourth on the league table after a 71-run loss against Afghanistan U-19 inspired by Reyaz Hassan in the ongoing Quadrangular U-19 One-day Series at Ekana International Cricket Stadium B, Lucknow, India. Player-of-the-match Hassan smashed an unbeaten century as Afghanistan scored 244 runs in 50 overs before picking up four wickets to nullify Nepal challenge in the third-place playoff match on Tuesday.

Nepal finished the India tour with one win and three defeats in four matches it played during the series. Earlier, Nepal lost to India U-19 ‘B’ by 40 runs and India U-19 ‘A’ by eight wickets before winning the only match of the tour against Afghanistan U-19 by 25 runs.

A total of nine Nepali batsmen scored double figures in the match, but none were able to bat long enough to have any chance of chasing the 245-run target. Skipper Aasif Sheikh and Lokesh Bam scored 25 runs each which was the most Nepali batsmen could get on the day. Aasif and Bam smashed four boundaries each in their respective 47 and 46-ball stays. Arun Airee and Pawan Sarraf registered 24 and 23 runs respectively. Nepal could only muster 173 runs before getting all out at the end of 45 overs.

Hassan, who also scored a century in the first innings, picked up four wickets including the crucial wickets of Sarraf, the hero of win against the same opposition on Sunday, and Sundeep Zora, the only other Nepali batsman with a half-century in the tournament. Similarly, Rizwanullah Murad chipped in with two wickets along with one wicket each from Abdul Rahman Rahmani, Arif Khan Dwalatzai, Zakiullah Sultani, and captain Ijaz Ahmad Mehran.

Earlier, Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Opening batsman Hassan carried his bat through the innings as he scored unbeaten 117 runs from 149 deliveries. Hassan smashed 12 boundaries and two sixes in his stay anchoring the Afghan innings as wickets kept falling at the other end. The next highest score of the innings was 32 by Basir Khan Shir from 50 deliveries. Nepal’s Samsaad Shiekh, Sarraf and Sagar Dhakal picked up two wickets each to keep the Afghan batsmen on check for majority part of the first innings. Rashid Khan also registered a wicket in the match.

Likewise, India U-19 ‘B’ won the quadrangular trophy after defending the score of 141 runs by 10 runs against the India U-19 ‘A’ in a final match played at Ekana International Cricket Stadium, Lucknow on Tuesday. AS Sandhu was adjudged man-of-the-match for his 4-wicket-haul.

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