24 October 2023, Kathmandu, Nepal
In a rain-affected thriller, Nepal emerged as the victorious team in the ACC Men’s U-19 Premier Cup, defeating the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by 19 runs. The gripping final unfolded at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Nepal set a challenging target of 281 runs for the UAE, but persistent rain interruptions forced a revision of the target to 198 runs using the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method. The hero of Nepal’s innings was their captain, Dev Khanal, who displayed remarkable prowess by notching up a sensational century. Khanal’s innings was laced with nine boundaries and three powerful sixes. In support of their captain, Uttam Rangu Thapa Magar and Arjun Kumal also made significant contributions, accumulating 57 and 55 runs, respectively. Nepal’s innings concluded at 280 runs.
Chasing the revised target, the UAE put up a valiant effort but fell short, managing only 178 runs while losing all their wickets in 26.5 overs. Dhruv Parashar emerged as the UAE’s top run-scorer with a commendable 59 runs off 49 deliveries, while Aryansh Sharma contributed with 32 runs.
Nepal’s bowlers, led by Aakash Tirpathi, displayed skill and determination, with Tirpathi taking four crucial wickets. Subash Bhandari and Akash Chand also made significant contributions, securing three and two wickets, respectively.
The title came with individual honors as well. Captain Dev Khanal was recognized as the best batter of the tournament, accumulating 240 runs in five innings, including two centuries. Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Dipesh Kandel was named the player of the tournament for his incredible performance of taking 18 wickets in five innings at an impressive economy rate of just 2.0.
Nepal have secured their place in the U19 Youth Asia Cup alongside the UAE and Japan. In the upcoming tournament, Nepal finds itself placed in Group ‘A’ alongside cricketing powerhouses India and Pakistan, along with the UAE. This remarkable win marks a significant achievement for Nepal’s rising cricket stars, paving the way for a bright future in the sport.