NEPAL TOO STRONG FOR IRELAND IN U19 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER IRELAND'S under 19 cricketers suffered a crushing 8 wicket defeat by Nepal in their latest World Cup qualifying game in Malaysia.
Batting first, skipper Jack Tector and Andrew Austin - playing his first game in the competition - got their side off to a steady start with a 53 run opening partnership. Austin went first for 13, and when Adam Dennison followed next ball, the Irish innings went into a tail-spin.
Tector fell for a well made 47 from just 53 balls (7 fours) - one of seven wickets to fall for the addition of just 48 runs. Gary McClintock made 27, but with four front-line batsmen dismissed for single figures, it was a case of damage limitation at 101 for 7.
The innings was given respectability by a superb unbroken 8th wicket stand of 83 between Strabane all-rounder Aaron Gillespie and Merrion left-armer Tom Stanton. Gillespie hit 6 fours and cleared the ropes once on his way to an unbeaten 58 - he's now the leading run scorer in the competition with 146 runs - six ahead of Jack Tector (140).
Stanton offered excellent support, hitting 3 fours in his undefeated 30. Prem Tamang proved the destroyer-in-chief with his 4 for 35 taking his tournament tally to 11 - sharing the leading wicket taker mantle with Rory Anders.
Any hopes the Irish had of securing a morale boosting win rested with early wickets, but that was soon snuffed out by a super opening stand of 170 by the Nepalese. Sandeep Sunar with 85 from 119 balls (7 fours, 1 six) and Sunil Dhamala who hit 3 fours and 3 sixes in his 75 from 121 balls ensured Nepal finished the group stages unbeaten.
Both fell in the space of three balls with just 15 needed, with Rory Anders (1-30) and a Tom Stanton run out dismissing them, but it was very much a case of too little, too late.
The Irish have a chance of instant revenge when the sides meet again tomorrow (THUR) in the competition final. The winners will claim the last qualification slot for the U19 World Cup finals being held in Bangladesh early next year.
U19 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS At Kinrara Academy Oval, IRELAND 184/7 (50 overs, A Gillespie 58*, J Tector 46, T Stanton 30, G McClintock 27, P Tamang 4-35)
NEPAL 190/2 (42.5 overs, S Sunar 85, S Dhamala 75, R Anders 1-30)
Nepal beat Ireland by 8 wickets