The Nepali U19 team is on a roll - on Sunday they beat India, and on Tuesday Malaysia. This two victories has registered them in the semi-finals of the tournament, for the first time in the ACC U-19 Asia Cup.
Nepal finished runners up in their pool which consisted of Nepal, India, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. On the last day of the league stage, Nepal hammered Malaysia by eight wickets on the back of a five-wicket haul from leg spinning sensation Sandeep Lamichhane. Nepal’s maiden entry into the semi-finals, however, was ensured after the Bangladeshi junior Tigers beat India by eight wickets to send the defending champions out from the group stage.
Bangladesh remained unbeaten to go through as group winners.
Nepal’s best result in age group cricket until now had been in the 2016 U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh when they had reached the quarter-finals.
They had also sealed a place in the Super Six of 2000 World Cup.
In their previous three appearances in the Asia Cup, Nepal had been knocked out from the group stage.
The result in the group stage was a complete turnaround for the Nepali team that had put on a mediocre performance in July’s ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers for Asia Region, even against lowly ranked teams and capitulated to Afghanistan, losing a spot in next year’s junior World Cup.
The U-19 coach Binod Das has been part of Nepal’s glorious history in U-19 World Cup where his side stunned Test giants like Pakistan along with Bangladesh in 2002.
Das, who now holds the peculiar record of beating Test giants as a player and coach, was excited.
“It feels great to have reached the semi-finals with a wonderful performance. We have been performing consistently throughout the tournament. Our hard work is finally paying off,” said Das whose side will meet their long-time nemesis Afghanistan in the semi-finals on Friday.