India’s U-19 team, coached by Rahul Dravid, suffered a shocking 19-run defeat against Nepal in an Asia Cup match at Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
In its sixth contest against India, this is Nepal’s first victory in any form of cricket.
Put in to bat, Nepal put up 185-8 in 50 overs — a target, many felt, will not be much of a problem for India. But the tournament favourite side was bundled out for 166 in 48.1 overs. Though India skipper Himanshu Rana tried his best to bring things India’s way with his knock of 46, it was not enough.
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With Nepal skipper Dipendra Singh Airee doing the star turn, picking four wickets after scoring 88 in 101 balls, India was never in the game.
The defeat, however, is a big blow for India, which will take on Bangladesh on Tuesday. After starting off with a victory against Malaysia in the tournament opener, India still leads Group A with two points and also maintains a NRR of 1.83.
Dravid’s boys need to finish at least second in the group to make it to the semifinals, scheduled on Thursday and Friday. The final will be played next Sunday.
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Interestingly, Nepal has an Indian connection in the side. Monty Desai, who is the batting consultant of the team has worked with Dravid extensively as a coach of the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and is completely aware of the former India captain’s cricketing strategies. “We wanted to respond in the best possible way, especially after tough game against Bangladesh. We wanted to show courage,” Desai told Sportstar from Kuala Lumpur.
Brief scores: Nepal U-19: 185-8 in 50 overs (Dipendra Singh 88) beat India 166 in 48.1 ovs (Himanshu Rana 46, Dipendra Singh 4-39) by 19 runs .