Nepal stunned defending champions India on the third day of the Under-19 Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur. Playing a key role in the 19-run win was the captain Dipendra Singh Airee. First he made 88 in Nepal's modest 185 for 8. Then he took 4 for 39 to wrestle India down from 91 for 1 to 166 all out.
There were several points in the match when the eventual result looked quite unlikely. Like when Himanshu Rana got the chase off to a brisk start, smacking seven fours and a six in his 38-ball 46. Though he fell to Kamal Singh Airee, India seemed to have things well in hand. At one point, they only needed 96 runs in about 27 overs with nine wickets in hand.
The game turned when Dipendra dismissed Atharva Taide. Pawan Sarraf (2-24) and Shalab Alam (2-11) also chipped in with a couple of wickets to ensure India's middle and lower order felt the pressure of the chase. And eventually the quarter-finalists in the last Under-19 World Cup secured victory.
It was perhaps the situation Dipendra had hoped for when he was batting earlier in the day, doing his best to repair the innings after the loss of both openers inside 10 overs. He added 49 for the third wicket with Jitendra Singh, before taking charge with an innings that included six fours and two sixes. Having faced 101 deliveries, he was dismissed only in the penultimate over.
Nepal, who were beaten by Bangladesh by two wickets in their tournament opener, play Malaysia next on Tuesday, while India, winners by 202 runs against Malaysia, take on Bangladesh.