Four Asian sides – India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka –advanced to the Super League quarter-finals of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Bangladesh with their second successive wins on Saturday.
India and Nepal, which took the two top spots in Group D at the expense of New Zealand and Ireland, will clash on Monday in their last league match to decide the group winner. The match will be produced by the ICC TV and will be aired around the world by 15 broadcasters.
Nepal rode on a five-wicket haul by leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane – which included the first hat-trick in the tournament – to defeat Ireland by eight wickets and confirm its maiden appearance in the quarter-finals.
Ireland was tied down to 131 for nine after electing to bat and Nepal, which had stunned New Zealand in its opening match, coasted home in the 26th over with Yogendra Karki making 61.
Lamichhane had Lorcan Tucker and Adam Dennison caught off successive balls in his fourth over and then bowled Fiachra Tucker with his next delivery to complete the hat-trick.
“What was more important than the hat-trick was that we won an important game and qualified for the quarter-finals,” said Lamichhane. “I hope we can continue the same way in other matches.”
Nepal’s captain Raju Rijal said qualifying for the quarter-finals meant a lot to his nation.
“I am sure there will be a lot of celebrations back home because cricket is very popular in our country,” said Rijal. “Performances like these will inspire more people to play the game in Nepal.
“The team spirit is very good and we enjoy each other’s success. The target now is to get past the quarter-finals also.”
Ireland captain Jack Tector blamed his team’s low total on the regular fall of wickets. “The hat-trick really did us in and our batsmen could not get enough runs on the board.”
But Mahipal Lomror stood out with a fine all-round display as he followed up his 45 with the bat with five for 47, which bundled New Zealand out for 138 in the 32nd over.
Seamer Avesh Kumar, who took three wickets in his first four overs to reduce the Kiwis to five for three, finished with four for 32. He was later declared player of the match.
“Our first aim to make the quarter-finals has been realised, but we cannot afford to relax,” said India captain Ishan Kishan. “We need to top the group, so the match against Nepal will be very important.
“I am confident because the batsmen are in form and the bowlers too are doing well. It is good that the seamers and spinners have got used to conditions here.”
Sri Lanka survived a tense run-chase by Afghanistan before clinching victory and a place in the quarter-finals.
Skipper Charith Asalanka top-scored with 71 in Sri Lanka's modest 184 all out, but Afghanistan was itself bowled out for 151 despite opener Karim Janat’s 40 and Waheedullah Shafaq’s 47.
Kamindu Mendis, who possesses a rare talent of bowling both right-arm off-spin and left-arm orthodox spin, claimed three wickets for 36 runs.
Pakistan scored a seven-wicket win over Canada after bowling out the unfancied rival for 178. Hasan Khan took three wickets and Shadab Khan took two.
The Pakistanis surpassed the target in the 41st over with opener Zeeshan Malik scoring an unbeaten 89 and Saif Badar 44. Zeeshan was later declared player of the tournament.
Pakistan captain Gohar Hafeez said he was satisfied with the way the tournament was progressing for his team.
“We are batting and bowling well and that is a good sign,” he said. “We will be well prepared for the Sri Lanka game because we want to win and top the group.”
Teams have been divided into four groups with the top two in each advancing to the Super League quarter-finals and the other two qualifying for the Plate championships.
Scores in brief:
Group B: Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 33 runs in Sylhet
Sri Lanka 184 all out, 48.1 overs (Charith Asalanka 71; Shamsurrahman Wali 3-19, Karim Janat 2-37, Zahir Khan 2-36)
Afghanistan 151 all out, 44.5 overs (Waheedullah Shafaq 47, Karim Janat 40; Kamindu Mendis 3-36).
Group B: Pakistan beat Canada by seven wickets in Sylhet
Canada 178 all out, 48.3 overs (Bhavindu Adhihetty 51, Abraash Khan 44; Hasan Khan 3-36, Shadab Khan 2-44)
Pakistan 180-3 in 40.5 overs (Zeeshan Malik 89 not out, Saif Badar 44)
Group D: India beat New Zealand by 120 runs in Mirpur
India 258-8, 50 overs (Sarfaraz Khan 74, Rishabh Pant 57, Armaan Jaffer 46, Mahipal Lomror 45; Zak Gibson 3-50, Nathan Smith 2-39, Rachin Ravindra 2-41)
New Zealand 138 all out, 31.3 overs (Christian Leopard 40; Mahipal Lormor 5-47, Avesh Khan 4-32)
Group D: Nepal beat Ireland by eight wickets in Fatullah
Ireland 131-9, 50 overs (Harry Tector 30 not out; Sandeep Lamichhane 5-27, Dipendra Airee 2-18)
Nepal 132-2, 25.3 overs (Yogendra Karki 61, Aarif Sheikh 31 not out)
Group A: Bangladesh v Scotland, Cox’s Bazar
Group A: South Africa v Namibia, Cox’s Bazar
Group C: West Indies v Fiji, Chittagong
Group C: England v Zimbabwe, Chittagong