Christchurch: A five-wicket haul by Nottinghamshire off spinner Paul McMahon saved England from potential embarrassment against Nepal in the first round of the ICC Under-19s World Cup on Monday.
England won by 37 runs but was made to work hard for its victory by a spirited Nepal side that restricted its opponents to just 204 for six from 50 overs. The total was to prove adequate enough though as Nepal was dismissed for 167. Man-of-the-match McMahon, who recovered from a groin injury to play, finished with five for 25 but it was a far from convincing performance by England, which struggled to combat the slow pace of the pitch. After winning the toss and deciding to bat England was looking to post a sizeable total against one of the weaker teams in the tournament, but its batsmen failed to find any fluidity and they struck just seven fours during their entire innings. Left-arm spinner Manoj Shrestha bowled tidily taking two for 53, but Shakh Gauchan was the more impressive, finishing with one for 34 from 10 overs, including the wicket of England captain Nicky Peng who was stumped for 36. Peng's dismissal took the impetus out of the innings and despite 57 from Durham's Gordon Muchall, England failed to accelerate the scoring rate finishing 40 runs short of its expected total. It was a failure that could have proved very costly indeed as Kanishka Chaugai (24) and Bardan Chalise (21) took Nepal past 50, but McMahon struck two crucial blows in the 28th over to turn the game in England's favour. Chalise was the first to fall when Stephen Pope stumped him, and off the last ball of the over Prem Chaudhary was adjudged leg before as Nepal lost its way. However, as soon as McMahon finished his allotted 10 overs the England attack lost its penetration and Nepal was able to post late order runs. Number nine Sanjam Regmi made an impressive 34 hitting five fours, and Binod Das scored 28 as Nepal threatened to see out its 50 overs. England took the final wicket with four balls to spare but even though it ended up on the losing side, Nepal had proved a point hitting eight more boundaries than its opponents. Hosts New Zealand, whose opening game against Sri Lanka was washed out, dismissed Zimbabwe for just 71 with pace bowler Michael Bates taking four for 26. However, New Zealand lost four wickets on its way to victory with opener Jesse Ryder top scoring on 41. Elsewhere in the competition the Test playing nations fared better than England against the minnows with India hammering Canada by 242 runs and the West Indies crushing Scotland by 301 runs. On Sunday in Dunedin Australia posted a massive 480 for six against Kenya, and on Monday it was the West Indies' turn to plunder runs as it made 402 for three with Donovan Pagon hitting 21 fours and five sixes on his way to 176, and Lendl Simmons scoring an unbeaten 121. Scotland succumbed for 101 with fast bowlers Ryan Nurse and Ravindranath Rampaul taking two wickets each. Defending champions India posted 356 for five against Canada in Auckland with Maninder Bisla making 128. Canada was bowled out for just 114. On Tuesday Canada can make amends against Bangladesh in Auckland, Sri Lanka takes on Namibia in Christchurch, Pakistan plays confident Nepal in Christchurch and in Dunedin Scotland takes on Kenya.
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