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Wisden Cricinfo staff
February 26, 2004
Australia 158 for 4 (Crosthwaite 50*, Beadle 49*) beat Nepal 154 for 9 (Khadka 33) by six wickets
Australia ensured their place in the Plate Championship semi-final with a six-wicket victory against Nepal at Chittagong. After restricting Nepal to 154 for 9, Adam Crosthwaite and Ahilen Beadle guided Australia home with a steady partnership of 96. They will now play the loser of Bangladesh v Ireland, to be played tomorrow.
Nepal won the toss and elected to bat, and they fared much better against the Australia pace attack compared to the other teams in their group. They managed to bat out the 50 overs with survival, rather than scoring, their objective. Paras Khadka top-scored with 33 as Nepal crawled to 154 for 9.
Australia set about their reply in their usual positive manner, but then had a slight scare after Manjeet Shrestha removed both openers with 30 on the board. And by the 14th over, Australia were wobbling at 62 for 4, and Nepal's army of fans were sensing a final twist in their enthralling tale. But it was not to be, as Crosthwaite and Beadle regrouped and led Australia to what was in the end a comfortable win.
The result brings to an end Nepal's World Cup adventure. They missed out on a place in the Super League by the narrowest of margins after causing the shock of the tournament in beating South Africa. They also won three of their six matches at Chittagong in front of considerable support from local-based Nepalese students. But defeat to Scotland in their previous match meant that they needed to win against Australia to progress any further.
Shakti Gauchan, Nepal's captain, scored over 170 runs in the tournament and he said he would take home fond memories of his time in Bangladesh. "It has been an enjoyable tournament," he said. "I've learnt a lot on the pitch and everyone has been really nice to us."
Roy Dias, Nepal's coach, blamed his side's elimination on the defeat to Scotland. "It was disappointing not to get through, but the Scotland game really cost us," said Dias. "We've done well in this tournament and the boys should be proud of the way that they have played."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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