Nepal v South Africa, U-19 World Cup Plate semi-final February 16, 2006

Nepal stun South Africa

Cricinfo staff

Nepal 214 for 8 (Chaugai 59) beat South Africa 212 for 5 (Elgar 66*) by two runs

Paras Khadka and Mahesh Chhetri sprint from the field complete with souvenir stump after Nepal's two-run win © ICC
Nepal produced one of the major upsets of the tournament when they defeated South Africa by two runs in the semi-final of the Plate competition. Their reward is a place in Saturday's final against Ireland.

Nepal scored 214 for 8 with captain Kanishka Chaugai (59) leading the way before restricting South Africa to 212 for 5, despite Dean Elgar's 66 not out from 65 balls.

South Africa required 16 from the final two overs, 10 from the last six deliveries and three off the last ball but Basanti Regmi and Paras Khadka bowled superbly to earn their side a famous win. It is the second time in successive U-19 World Cups that Nepal have beaten South Africa - the last time by one wicket in Bangladesh.

Roy Dias, Nepal's coach, said: "That finish today was really tense but the boys handled it well and I am very proud of them. I told them beforehand that South Africa would be under pressure after looking at that last result and with our spinners bowling well it was a great win."

Elgar, the South Africa captain, was gracious in defeat: "Our fielding let us down and they got 20 or 30 more runs than they should have but there are no excuses. They were the better side today."

Chaugai's contribution, his second fifty of the tournament, was crucial in ensuring Nepal more than held their own against their more illustrious opponents. Playing in his third and final U-19 World Cup, he faced 81 balls in a stay of 106 minutes, hitting six fours and a six during his innings. He added 67 for the first wicket with Mahesh Chhetri (15) and 38 for the second wicket with Sarad Vesawkar (19) and at 105 for 1 Nepal looked well placed. They were also helped by an injury to South Africa fast bowler Craig Alexander, who was only able to bowl 3.1 overs before breaking down with a suspected cartilage tear.

But Nepal's innings was checked with the appearance of spinners Jean Symes and Richard Das Neves in the attack as both applied the brakes in remarkable fashion. Left-armer Symes bowled his ten-overs at a cost of just 15 runs and also picked up three wickets including Chaugai, while offspinner Das Neves was almost as economical, delivering his ten overs at a cost of just 25 runs.

No one went on to play a major innings for Nepal and it was left to Gyanendra Malla, whose 64 in the previous match against Uganda was vital in helping his side to a defendable score, to once again hold the middle order together. He made an responsible unbeaten 46 in 71 balls with six fours, but Malusi Siboto ensured Nepal were unable to break freeing the latter stages of their innings. He picked up 4 for 47 while the other wicket-taker for South Africa was Brett Thompson with 1 for 38 and their contributions were vital after Alexander left the field.

Having got runs on the board, Nepal gradually squeezed the life out of the South Africa innings through their spinners and from 92 for 1 the Proteas slipped to 99 for 4. Basant Regmi led the way with the ball for Nepal. The left-armer bowled superbly to take 3 for 31 and the other bowlers responded to his lead.

Khadka, who opened the bowling alongside Amrit Bhattarai, was equally impressive and although he did not take any wickets, his 0 for 36 in a full compliment of ten overs, including the last of the match, was priceless.

"Our batsmen in the middle period played very slowly and by the time I was with Romano (Ramoo) we were wanting eight an over," said Elgar. "They put us under pressure and although we got 15 from the 48th over we could not get there in the end."

Ramoo made 38 before he was dismissed in the penultimate over by Regmi but those runs took him 64 balls and his inability to score more quickly turned out to be a key difference.