The New Zealand Under 19 team have won their final warm-up match against Nepal ahead of the start of the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup beginning on Saturday.
The match was played at Ron McMullin Oval on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. New Zealand proved to be too good in the end, but didn't win by the margin they may have hoped for.
Nepal were set a target of 268 to win and had the Kiwis nervous for much of the match, until eventually falling 19 runs short.
New Zealand were certainly made to work. A 129 run second wicket partnership between Naresh Budhaayer and Subash Khakurel had Nepal in the strong position of 131 for one after 33 overs. Khakurel brought up his half century before departing on 59.
His wicket changed the match somewhat, with Nepal losing wickets far more frequently from that point on. Budhaayer continued to anchor the innings though and kept his sides hopes alive right up until the 48th over. The talented number three batsmen was finally dismissed by Arnie Yugaraja for 114, but it had been a tremendous innings.
New Zealand would have been relieved to see the back of Budhaayer and were able to push onto victory, with Nepal finishing 248 for nine.
Yugaraja was the pick of the bowlers, collecting three wickets in his four overs. It was also a good effort in the field, with New Zealand effecting three run-outs.
Earlier captain Will Young had led his side with the bat, falling just short of a ton on 97. It was a timely knock from the Central District's player, as his side were looking vulnerable at 73 for three.
He found aid in Henry Walsh (53) to guide his team out of the woods, until both were dismissed at the end of the innings. Cameron Fletcher put the icing on the cake, with a quick-fire 43 off 28 balls to help New Zealand finish 267 for eight.
It was an important win for the Kiwi boys, who know there is work to do before their first match of the tournament against Scotland on Sunday.