Nepal faced 76-run defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the opening match of the SAARC U-25 T20 Cricket Tournament at Ahmed Ali Didi Stadium in the Maldives on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka scored 240-4 in 20 overs choosing first batting, while Nepal was stopped to 164-9.
Openers for Nepal, Mahesh Chhetri and Gyanendra Malla lost their wickets through run outs. Chhetri was out scoring 13 runs while Malla scored two runs. Prithu Baskota turned out to be the most remarkable Nepali batsman as he struck four huge sixes and a boundary in his 32 runs inning off just 13 balls. Sharad Vesawkar scored 26 runs off 14 balls while Binod Bhandari contributed 25 runs off 17 balls for their team.
Pradeep Airee played his natural game and struck two boundaries and three huge sixes for unbeaten 35 off just 27 balls. Airee and Baskota shared 48-run partnership for the seventh wicket. Skipper Khadka said the Sri Lankan batsmen batted well. “We had set a target for ourselves from this match and I think we succeeded in achieving that,” added Khadka.
Danishka Mestiyage for just 51 balls made century with eight boundaries and as many sixes, and stacked up a huge total on board for Sri Lanka.
Bhanku Rajapakse also scored 58 runs off 32 balls including four boundaries and three sixes. Sri Lanka had lost its first wicket with a total of 47 runs on board and later they punished Nepali bowler.
Mestiyage and Rajapakse shared a 102-run partnership for the second wicket. Skipper Paras Khadka grabbed three wickets in his four over giving away 57 runs. Amrit Bhattarai seized one wicket in four overs granting 58 runs.
Coach Pubudu Dassanayake said he was happy with the performance of the players. “It was the ground that made much difference. (Ground had boundary ropes at 57 yards). “Bowling was not up to the mark. Spinners could not handle it and some overs went really bad,” added Dassanayake.
“The boys showed that they can face stronger opponents and score. If we are to forget the end result, the match was a good experience for the team,” added Khadka.
Nepal will face India in its second match on Thursday.