Nepal's under-16 beat Malaysia by 32 runs at the Kinrara Oval, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday, winning the ACC U-16 Premier 2014, a league competition for Asia’s six top-ranked youth teams.
Nepal's 13-year-old left-arm spinner Anil Kharel was crowned the Most Promising Player of the tournament by ACC. Malaysia captain Virandeep Singh was both the Player of the Tournament for his all round performance, and the Batsman of the Tournament with an aggregate of 170 runs. Nepal's Jitendra Singh Thakuri was the Bowler of the Tournament.
With the win, Nepal has brought home the 'missing' shield in its ACC age-category trophy cabinet. Among the Asian Cricket Association's age-category competitions for non-test playing Asian nations, the U-16 was the only one Nepal had failed to win.
Nepal has won the U-15 twice, the U-17 once and the U-19 four times. In the two U-16-level ACC tournaments played before this, Nepal was runner-up both time. In 2010 when the championship was called ACC U-16 Elite, Nepal lost to Singapore by 68 runs in the final. Then in the ACC U-16 Elite 2012 played in Kuala Lumpur, it lost to Malaysia by 1 wicket.
The Cricket Association of Nepal announced on Wednesday that each member of the team would be awarded Rs 20,000.
On Wednesday, after being sent in to bat by Malaysia captain Virandeep Singh, Nepal made 161 runs for the loss of nine wickets in its designated 40 overs with Man of the Match Pawan Saraf top scoring with 44 and Rabi Chand making 34. Malaysia's Muhammad Islah proved most troublesome for Nepali batsmen, taking four wickets for 32 runs.
Chasing the target, Malaysia suffered an early set-back when its star batsman Virandeep Singh, who had accumulated 165 runs in the tournament before the match, was run out scoring just five runs.
Malaysia dug in after that but wickets kept falling regularly. It tried to accelerate the scoring at half point, hitting Nepali skipper Sumit Maharjan's for 12 in the 20th over. Sumit then brought in 13-year-old Anil Kharel who made an immediate breakthrough.
In the end, Malaysia was all out for 129 runs in 36.2 overs. Muhammad Fadli was the highest scorer for Malaysia with 34.
The triumphant team is expected back in Kathmandu on Thursday.
THE NEPALI SQUAD: Sumit Maharjan (captain), Ashif Seikh (vice-captain), Pranit Thapa, Susanta Singh Thapa, Pawan Saraf, Jitendra Singh Thakuri, Rabindra Shahi, Rabi Kumar Shah, Rabi Chand, Ashish Pokhrel, Bijay Chaudhary, Anil Kharel, Rijan Dhakal and Roshan Adhikari.