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Sri Lankan opener Chamindu Wickramasinghe plays a lofted drive during his century against Nepal at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday. Image Credit: Courtesy: ACC

Sharjah: Sri Lanka, aided by centuries from Sadisha Rajapaksa and Chamindu Wickramasinghe, defeated Nepal by 60 runs in a high-scoring encounter in the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Sri Lanka displayed their batting might to post a huge total of 322 for 4 in 50 overs only to see Nepal chasing the target valiantly and managed score 262 in 47.5 overs.

Sri Lanka’s opener Wickramasinghe cracked 111 off 126 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes, while No 3 batsman Rajapaksa scored 131 off 119 balls with 11 boundaries and two sixes after electing to bat first. Nepal chased through Arjun Saud, who top-scored with 64. Sri Lankan pacer Matheesha Pathirana and leg-spinner Raveen de Silva restricted Nepal’s innings with three wickets each.

Sri Lanka, elected to bat after winning the toss. Openers Wickramasinghe and Shevon Daniel put on 39 runs in 10.1 overs before Daniel got caught and bowled by Nepal skipper Dev Khanal for 17. Rajapaksa joined Wickramasinghe and steadily increased the run rate. Rajapaksa used his feet well to pick the gaps and scored at a steady pace. Wickramasinghe was the first to reach his half century in 74 balls. At the half way mark, Sri Lanka were placed at 126 for 1.

Rajapaksa was the first to reach his century in 93 balls, with Wickramasinghe following by reaching the mark in 119 deliveries.

Skipper Dunit Wellalage remained unbeaten 34 off 24 balls to guide Sri Lanka to 322 for 4 in 50 overs.

Nepal’s openers Dev Khanal and Santosh Karki began confidently, refusing to be intimidated by the formidable target. The pair put on 50-run partnership in the 10 overs.

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Sadisha Rajapaksa, who scored 131 against Nepal, receives the man of the match award from Mazhar Khan of Sharjah Cricket Council. Image Credit: Courtesy: ACC

Pathirana, who has a sling bowling action similar to the legendary Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga, yorked Karki for 34 to give Sri Lanka the breakthrough with the score at 59. The second wicket fell at 81 when Khanal lofted leg-spinner Raveen De Silva to mid-wicket only for Rajapaksa to complete a brilliant catch. Nepal soon slipped to 92 for 4 in 22.2 overs.

Undettered by the loss of wickets, Basir Ahmad and Saud kept Nepal in the chase and the pair put on 75 off 87 balls. Off-spinner Shevon Daniel ended the partnership by having Ahmad caught by Wanuja Sahan for 43. Saud, who reached his half century in 73 balls, was run him out for 64 and put on 41 with Bibek Yadav, who also contributed a quickfire 46, for the sixth wicket.

Rajapaksa, who was adjudged the player of the match, said: “I am happy to have contributed to my team’s success. I enjoyed batting with Wickramasinghe, who also hit a century and helped our team get a big score. Though I have got many centuries in school’s cricket, this is my first century in such a high level tournament.”

Brief scores

Sri Lanka beat Nepal by 60 runs. Sri Lanka 322 for 4 in 50 overs (Chamindu Wickramasinghe 111, Sadisha Rajapaksa 131, Dunith Wellalage 34; Mohammad Aadil Alam 2-46) Nepal 262 in 47.5 overs (Santosh Karki 34, Arjun Saud 64, Basir Ahamad 43, Bibek Yadav 46; Raveen de Silva 3-35, Matheesha Pathirana 3-49). Man of the match: Sadisha Rajapaksa.