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Nepal close to Zimbabwe shock
07 Feb 2006
By: Neil Pickup

Sean Williams' Zimbabwean Under 19s came within two runs of embarrassment at the hands of lowly Nepal in the only one of today's four World Cup games to provide any type of thrilling climax.

Nepal, winning the toss and fielding, restricted the full member nation to 56 for five and then 90 for six as their medium pace bowlers found movement early on. However, Ryan Higgins and Glen Querl were able to eke out a 96-run stand for the seventh wicket before Paras Khadka (four for 28) cleaned up the Zimbabwean tail.

Nepal's reply, led by captain Kanishka Chaugai and Khadka, had eased to 150 for two, and the unfancied associates seemed certain to seal a famous victory... until the pressure told. Khadka was stumped by a huge margin, and as the two legspinners, Higgins and Test player Graeme Cremer, strangled the middle order, the Nepalese inexperience began to show.

Supersub Yashwant Subedi made 16, but as sixteen-year-old Gary Balance held his nerve and kept the ball straight at the death, the Nepalese lower order subsided to 199 for nine. Chaugai was devastated, commenting, "My form is good, but it means nothing if we lose. We got out trying to play some big shots, including me, and we couldn't quite get there in the last over.We got out trying to play some big shots, including me, and we couldn't quite get there in the last over."

Zimbabwe 201
Ryan Higgins 74, Glen Querl 42
Paras Khadka 4-28, Basanta Regmi 2-44

Nepal 199-9
Kanishka Chaugai 78, Sharad Vesawkar 38
Graeme Cremer 3-36, Ryan Higgins 2-31

The day's remaining three matches contained scant intrigue, as New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka defeated Uganda, the USA and Namibia by a combined margin of 421 runs. Twin 67s from Todd Astle and Kieran Noema-Barnett set up the Kiwis' tally of 259 for six, before Dean Bartlett reduced the Ugandan top order to 40 for four. Bartlett finished with five for 30 as Uganda fell to 137 all out.

Craig Alexander followed up his four wickets against Australia with three more against the United States - two from the first two balls of the innings, and as Richard das Neves added five more scalps, the USA's eventual 115 all out never looked close to reaching their 278-run target. Mrunal and Nisarg Patel had reduced the South Africans to 101 for five, but a violent stand of 153 in 22 overs between captain Dean Elgar (79) and keeper Craig Kieswetter (80) ended any American hopes of an upset.

Sacith Serasinghe produced his second consecutive man-of-the-match display for Sri Lanka, adding three off-spun wickets to his earlier 41 as Namibia were overwhelmed. Dilhan Cooray made an unbeaten 64 as the hosts doubled their score to 263 in the last twenty overs. Louis van der Westhuizen's slow left arm took three for 43, but was then bowled by Angelo Mathews' first ball of the Namibian reply. Supersub Rajeev Weerasinghe added four wickets of his own as Namibia finished 126 all out.

New Zealand 259/6 (T Astle 67, P Ochan 3/70)
Uganda 137 (HS Almuzahim 27, DJ Bartlett 5/30)

South Africa 277/8 (C Kieswetter 80, NK Patel 2/26)
USA 115 (DO Nathaniel 41, R das Neves 5/29)

Sri Lanka 263/8 (PDMA Cooray 64*, LP van der Westhuizen 3/34)
Namibia 126 (PJ Grove 28, DRF Weerasinghe 4/24)

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