Under-19 shocked by giant-killers

New Zealand took runners-up spot in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Plate Championship after Nepal pulled off another shock with an amazing comeback victory in Colombo.

After defeating South Africa in the Plate semi-finals, the Asian side launched a dramatic comeback to claim the title following a thrilling final-over finish.

The young Kiwis had Nepal at 75-6, chasing 205 for victory, but Prem Chaudhary (26) and man of the match Basanta Regmi (66) launched the fight-back with a stirring 70-run stand.

And although both men were dismissed in the frantic final overs, Ratan Rauniyar (26 not out) and last man Raj Shrestha (three not out) held their nerve, and Rauniyar hit the winning runs with just two balls in hand when he sliced Colin Munro through backward point for four.

New Zealand was indebted to opener Todd Astle (pictured), one of their more consistent performers on the tour, for his patient 66 from 86 balls in just over two hours at the crease in an innings that included nine fours.

Kieran Noema-Barnett (26), Shaun Fitzgibbon (29) and Roneel Hira (26) also contributed, the latter pair joining forces at 145-6, adding 47 for the seventh wicket.

New Zealand coach Dipak Patel said afterwards: “We were in a good position but you have got to take your hat off to Nepal for not giving in.

“They were very sensible in their approach to chasing a modest total and we showed inexperience at this level as we did not do the basics.”

Captain Marc Ellison added: “We thought we were 20 – 30 runs light of where we should have been but we still thought we could defend it.

“In the end we did not win the crucial moments and it shows you cannot afford to relax, even for one ball.”

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