Tuesday 26 February 2008 

Nepal Reach Plate Final After Thriller Against Namibia

Nepal booked its place in the Plate Championship final of ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia on Tuesday with a thrilling four-run victory over Namibia at Johor Cricket Academy.

Namibia was set a target of 144 runs to win after the game had been reduced to 34 overs a side due to rain early in the day. And the Africans almost got there with Raymond van Schoor (48) and Louis van der Westhuizen (33) doing most of the good work.

But this is a highly polished and accomplished Nepal side, particularly in the bowling and fielding departments and, as usual, the reigning Plate champion did not give much away to the batting side. Captain and all-rounder Paras Khadka, having earlier scored 44 with the bat, added two wickets with the ball and as the game went into the final stages, the pressure built on the Namibians.

Raj Shreestha broke a crucial 35-run partnership between van Schoor and Keady Strauss in the dying moments of the game and with 16 runs needed off eight balls, the lower order was not quite up to the task despite the best efforts of Gert Coetzee, who scored an unbeaten nine from four balls.

Earlier, Nepal made 143-8 in 34 overs with Khadka in fine form but Sean Silver (3-20) and Strauss (2-25) kept a lid on it for Namibia.

Nepal will now face the winner of the West Indies and Papua New Guinea, who play in the other semi-final tomorrow at MPTI, Johor. That Plate Championship final will take place at Bayuemas in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

In the other game of the day, Zimbabwe exacted revenge on Malaysia for a shock defeat earlier in the tournament by beating the host by 44 runs in the Plate Championship play-off semi-final at MPTI, Johor.

With that game also reduced to 34 overs, Daniel Landman (45 not out), Peter Moor (37) and Solomon Mire (36) made sure Zimbabwe got to a formidable total of 186-6.

In reply Aminudin Ramly batted beautifully for his 70 but wickets kept falling at the other end and Malaysia was all out for 142 with Edzai Jaure (3-39) the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers.

On Wednesday, the first Super League semi-final will take place with India taking on New Zealand at Kinrara Oval in a game that will be televised live by ICC’s host broadcaster ESPN-STAR Sports.

It is a huge game for both sides with India probably going in as favourite having proved itself to be a very difficult team to beat over the past 10 days or so. Virat Kohli’s men emerged top from a tough group that included the West Indies, South Africa and PNG before easing past England in the quarter-final.

By contrast, New Zealand lost to Pakistan and only qualified for the Super League from second place in Group A. But a great win over Sri Lanka in KL on Monday has given the junior Black Caps an enormous confidence boost ahead of tomorrow’s game.

And with players like Tim Southee, who is currently leading the Player of the Tournament standings, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson in form, it could be closer than India coach Dav Whatmore would like.

There are two other games on Wednesday with England taking on Sri Lanka at Royal Selangor Club in the Super League play-off semi-final and the West Indies playing Papua New Guinea in the second semi-final of the Plate Championship at MPTI in Johor.

© ICC