MCC 334-7 (50) (Rhodes 93, Westley 65, Hammond 65, Sher Malla 2-53) defeated Nepal U19s (Hari Chauhan 52, Rit Gautam 45, Arun Airee 30, Wright 3-51) by 38 runs.

Nepal’s young talent gave the touring MCC side a scare on Sunday, falling just short of an improbable chasing victory at the TU ground.

MCC were put into bat for their first match of the tour by Rit Gautam, though the Nepali skipper was made to rue his decision as the opening partnership of Will Rhodes and Billy Godleman raced to an opening hundred-run stand.

Nepal’s loyal fans were in good voice at the TU ground. (Bishal Pokhrel)

After the loss of Godleman, struck in front by Sagar Dhakal for 22, Tom Westley continued the MCC dominance with an array of strokes and a strike rate above a hundred.

After Kushal Malla claimed Westley, the onslaught continued through Miles Hammond (65) and Ed Young (45) deep into the MCC innings. Hammond’s 36-ball stay ended in the 47th over, while Young ended unbeaten with a strike rate of over 140.

Set 335 to win, Nepal showed little fear early in their chase, with Gautam and Lokesh Bam attacking from the first over. Bam hit three consecutive boundaries of Yasir Arafat, though fell to Chris Wright in the fourth over. Khadak Bohara picked up the slack, to hit four boundaries in an innings of 26 from as many balls.

Rit Gautam came close to a half century. (Bishal Pokhrel)

Rit fell short of a half-century by five runs, with his dismissal deflating the packed crowd, who knew their chances of seeing a home victory had taken a critical blow.

Nepal sat at the halfway stage at 141-3, though Bishal Bikram KC was unable to further add to the total, finding MCC captain Jimmy Adams who took a diving catch at short mid-wicket.

Arun Airee and Hari Chauhan tried to lift the run-rate, giving home fans hope of stealing an improbable win. Airee fell to Westley for 30, though Chauhan reached the half-century mark, angling a shot down to third man.

MCC will play the senior side on Monday. (Bishal Pokhrel)

Chauhan was dismissed for 52, and the last Kushal Malla, considered the last recognised batsman, was Wright’s second scalp. The U19 side ran out of steam with ten overs left, though a 9th wicket 60-run partnership between Aakash Chand and Sher Malla proved difficult to break.

MCC will take on the senior national team on Monday at the TU International Cricket Ground, Kirtipur.

Scorecard of the match can be found here.

Read about Gyanendra Malla’s appointment as Nepal captain.

Who will drive the new era of Nepali cricket? Find out here.

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