Minnows Nepal created the biggest upset defeating New Zealand by 32 runs in their opening group league match while Pakistan and Sri Lanka registered easy victories over their respective opposition in the of the ICC U-19 World Cup.
After hosts Bangaldesh shocked defending champions South Africa in the opening day of the tournament, it was the turn of the Himalayan nation to stun the Black Caps colts at the Khan Saheb Osman Ali Stadium.
Batting first, Nepal scored 238 for seven with captain Raju Rijal contributing 48. Sandeep Sunar chipped in with 39.
In reply, Nepal bowlers produced an impressive performance by bowling out New Zealand for 206 in 47.1 overs.
Seamer Dipendra Airee grabbed 3/24 while off-spinner Prem Tamang took two for 38.
“This was a great win for us,” said Rijal.”We fielded brilliantly to effect three run-outs and that turned the match for us.”
New Zealand skipper Josh Finnie said his side messed up what should have been a comfortable run-chase.
“We made the target more difficult for ourselves,” he said. “We must now win the next two games against India and Ireland if we are to progress.”
In Group B games played in Sylhet, Pakistan crushed Afghanistan by six wickets and Sri Lanka overpowered Canada by 196 runs.
Pakistan’s leg-spinner Shadab Khan grabbed four for nine in five overs and seamer Hasan Mohsin took three for 24 as Afghanistan was bundled out for 126 after being sent in to bat. Tariq Stanikzai scored a fine 53, but eight batsmen failed to reach double-figures against the sustained pressure applied by the Pakistanis.
Pakistan surpassed the modest target in the 32nd over with Zeeshan Malik making 29, Hasan Mohsin an unbeaten 28 and Mohammad Umar 25.
Shadab, playing his first U19 World Cup, admitted he was nervous at the start but settled down to return with excellent figures.
“I tried to bowl as straight as possible without trying too many things,” he said.
“I am happy with my performance but more importantly we achieved a convincing win. It has given us tremendous confidence and lifted the entire side.”
Sri Lanka showed why it is one of the tournament favourites when it rattled up 315 for six after electing to bat against Canada.
Skipper Charith Asalanka led the way with 76 off 69 balls, the in-form Shammu Ashan hit 74 off 61 balls, Kaveen Bandara made 61 and wicketkeeper Vishad de Silva scored 51.
Canada was shot out for 119 in reply with Arslan Khan playing a lone hand with an unbeaten 42. Lahiru Kumara, Thilan Nimesh and Damitha Silva claimed two wickets each.
Afghanistan 126 all out in 41.2 overs (Tariq Stanikzai 53; Shadab Khan 4/9, Hasan Mohsin 3/24)
Pakistan 129/4 in 31.3 overs (Zeeshan Malik 29, Hasan Mohsin 28 not out, Mohammad Umar 25; Zia-ur-Rehman 2/31). Pakistan won by 6 wickets.
Sri Lanka 315/6 in 50 overs (Charith Asalanka 76, Shammu Ashan 74, Kaveen Bandara 61, Vishad de Silva 51; Abdul Haseeb 2/65)
Canada 119 all out in 39.2 overs (Arslan Khan 42 not out; Lahiru Kumara 2/22, Thilan Nimesh 2-19, Damitha Silva 2/16).
Sri Lanka won by 196 runs.
Nepal 238/7 in 50 overs (Raju Rijal 48, Sandeep Sunar 39, Aarif Sheikh 39, Kushal Bhurtel 35 not out; Nathan Smith 3/58)
New Zealand 206 all out in 47.1 overs (Glenn Phillips 52, Josh Finnie 37, Dale Phillips 41; Dipendra Airee 3-/24, Prem Tamang 2/38) Nepal won by 32 runs.