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Nepal's effort has been one of tournament's highlights

Nepal will meet Zimbabwe in the Plate Championship final to be held at Lincoln No. 3 tomorrow.

The team that has surprised everyone in this tournament conquered a second Test-playing nation, Bangladesh, today. Nepal beat Pakistan in the opening week of the competition to open the cricket-playing world's eyes to a new corner of cricketing power.

With six 15 or 16-year olds in the team, cricket's future looks bright in the Himalayan nation. The first step in climbing the mountain towards being a full international team has been overcome here at Lincoln, no matter what happens in the final.

Coach Roy Dias, who may be in charge for the last time tomorrow, said: "We're looking forward to it. They are a very good side, but we'll take it as just another match because every game is like a final to us."

He defended his decision to bat first, saying, "To all the people who suggested we made a mistake, I am coach and I know the side's strengths."

A score of 180/6 off 50 overs was more than enough to see Nepal comfortably home and overcome another huge challenge, after the shock 30-run victory over Pakistan on January 22.

Bangladesh was never in it, and lost by a flattering 23 runs after an uneven attempt to reach the target.

Man of the match Bardan Chalise is a member of the full Nepalese national side, and it was his 27 off 90 balls that held Nepal together on Wednesday evening after a day of gales had prevented a start before tea time.

This gave Nepal tail-enders Basudev Thapa and Manjit Shrestha the chance to run everything and add 44 this morning off the 30 deliveries remaining to be bowled in their innings.

"This morning the boys gave me 44 runs which was magic," said Dias, who had hoped for a mere 30 to make a competitive score. Thapa hurt his knee when batting and looks doubtful for the final.

Bangladesh began well, with Gazi Salauddin hitting Shrestha for a couple of boundaries, before three wickets fell in 11 deliveries, two to the right-arm medium of captain Binod Das, who later ran out Hasibul Haoq and caught Ali Arman blindingly at midwicket.

Dias told CricInfo: "I was pleased with everyone, especially the captaincy of Das, who will be the future Nepal captain, there is no doubt about it."

The former Sri Lanka Test player, who was his country's coach from 1998-99 has been with Nepal just three months, but his experience with Muttiah Muralithran has rubbed off on off-spinner Sanjam Regmi who, along with Chalise, who took four for 38 today, is in the senior national team.

"Muralitharan is a genius and I didn't do anything with him, though I learnt a lot from him," said Dias, who may soon be lost to Nepalese cricket unless a new contract is offered to him within "a couple of weeks."

"I've got to decide whether to stay or go somewhere else," said Dias. Duleep Mendis of the Asia Cricket Council has put a proposal to coach the United Arab Emirates to Dias, whose experience as a player and coach has been instrumental in Nepal's improvement.

Possibly the most obvious aspect of Nepal's superiority in this hard-fought game was the manic fielding and spirited teamwork the players demonstrated.

"If you want to play one-day cricket you have got to be a good fielding side. It was difficult because the boys were not used to those kind of drills, but there were no complaints because they all want to improve," said Dias.

"I'd like to see these guys continue from here because they have the ability," Dias added.

The country has an aim of playing in the 2011 World Cup. Dias concluded, "If they continue no-one can say they can't do it."