Could Nepal's reign as the top associate Under-19 side be coming to an end? It may just be after the way they lost to Bangladesh in Khulna today.
Nepal won the toss and sent Bangladesh into bat, and opening bowlers Amrit Bhattarai and Paras Khadka got them off to a good start with a wicket each to reduce Bangladesh to 35/2 in the ninth over. But Bangladesh rebuilt in fine style with Mithun Ali and Nadimuddin putting on 261 for the third wicket.
Bhattarai and Khadka came back into the attack later to remove the two, Ali for 142 and Nadimuddin for 118, but the damage had been done, and Bangladesh scored 302/4 from their 50 overs. Only the two opening bowlers went for less than six an over. But one of them probably won't be featuring in the World Cup, as Paras Khadka would appear to be twenty years old, a rather worrying thought given Asia's recent record in this area.
Nepal didn't seem to even attempt at a run chase, batting rather casually as Bangladesh took the opportunity to use ten bowlers, with just the wicket-keeper not turning his arm over. Anil Mandal top scored for them with 48 from 124 balls as Nepal crawled to 191/8 from 50 overs, losing by 111 runs.
Up until now, Nepal would have put in a good fight against Bangladesh at Under-19 level, and probably beaten them. Indeed, in their previous meeting six years ago, Nepal won by 23 runs. But the way in which Bangladesh have won today could indicate that Nepal are in decline at youth level. It could of course also indicate that Bangladesh are on the rise!
The teams meet in two more matches on this tour, on Saturday and Monday, both matches taking place at the same ground as today. Nepal's Under-19 World Cup campaign gets under-way on February 18 when they play Sri Lanka at the Penang Sports Club.
Bangladesh Under-19s beat Nepal Under-19s by 111 runs
Bangladesh Under-19s 302/4 (50 overs, Mithun Ali 142, Nadimuddin 118)
Nepal Under-19s 191/8 (50 overs, A Mandal 48, P Khadka 36)