ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup – Nepal beat Afghanistan; WI inch past England

Nepal 149 for 9 (Khanal 58, Dawoodzai 3-21, Maroofkhil 2-28) beat Afghanistan 145 (Ghazanfar 37, Chand 5-34, Kandel 2-17) by one wicket

Afghanistan and Nepal had everything to play for in East London on Friday, and play they did, toe-to-toe, inch-for-inch, all the way to a thrilling finish amid gripping drama. Nepal won by one wicket in the end, and entered the Super Six stage of the men’s Under-19 World Cup at the expense of Afghanistan; but the game was, perhaps, more than just the result and the make-up of the next stage of the tournament.
Nepal seemed to have it in the bag at various stages, when first Aakash Chand was running through the Afghanistan batting, and then when Dev Khanal, the captain, was stroking his way to an 89-ball 58. But if there’s one thing Afghanistan don’t do – at any level of the game – it’s to give up. They took it deep, before Subash Bhandari, who had earlier returned 1 for 15 from 8.1 overs, poked at one outside off to the legspin of Arab Gul, got a healthy edge and sent it through a packed off-side field for four. Deal done. The celebrations were as wild as the game itself was.
The win was set up by Chand, later named Player of the Match. By the tenth over, Afghanistan were tottering at 34 for 5 after having opted to bat. Chand had four of those wickets. The fightback came courtesy Hassan Eisakhil (20) and Naseer Khan Maroofkhil (31), and then Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar (37); but all Afghanistan could put up was 145. Chand finished with 5 for 34, his fifth wicket that of Eisakhil.
Nepal’s reply started almost as shakily, with Khalil Ahmed and Faridoon Dawoodzai reducing them to 24 for 3. But a dominant Khanal and a sedate Aakash Tripathi appeared to take the game away from Afghanistan with a 49-run stand, the best of the innings.

A twist had to come, and it came in the form of Maroofkhil sending Tripathi back in the 24th over, with the target still 73 runs away. Khanal wasn’t going anywhere, though, even as a couple more wickets fell at the other end, before being felled by Ghazanfar for 58.

The total then was 127 for 7. Overs were not an issue, but Afghanistan were into Nepal’s tail. Dipak Bohora ensured it wagged enough to take Nepal to within a shot of victory, but he too fell with six runs still to get. The fielders were all around the bat at that stage, and the dot balls piled up; but somehow, in the end, Bhandari found a way out.

West Indies 196 for 8 (Pascal 58, Nathan Edward 49*, Tazeem 3-34) beat England 192 (Shaikh 54, Thain 40, Nathan Edward 3-28) by two wickets

Nathan Edward‘s all-round performance helped West Indies beat England by two wickets in Potchefstroom and qualify for the Super Six round. He picked up 3 for 28 with his left-arm seam as England folded for 192, and then scored an unbeaten 49 to take his side home.
After West Indies opted to bowl, Nathan Edward castled Jaydn Denly in the first over of the match. England captain Ben McKinney and Noah Thain added 50 for the second wicket, before he sent McKinney back. Thain and Hamza Shaikh, who scored 54 off 83, took England to 97 for 2 in the 21st over, but once offspinner Tarrique Edward removed Thain, the innings collapsed. At one stage, England were 146 for 7, but the lower order dragged them close to 200.
West Indies, too, lost a wicket in the first over, and were 31 for 2 in the sixth. But their captain Stephan Pascal absorbed all the pressure and scored 58 off 84.
Legspinner Tazeem Chaudry Ali tried to keep England in the contest with his three wickets, including that of Pascal. When West Indies lost their seventh, the target was still 37 runs away, though the asking rate was never a concern.

But Nathan Edward stood up once again with an unbeaten 49 off 80 balls. He added 36 off 32 deliveries with Tarrique Edward, in which the latter’s contribution was 5, and hit the winning boundary to give his side a two-wicket win.

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