Nepal’s 16-year-old batsman Rohit Paudel became the youngest batsman to score an international half-century in men’s cricket when Nepal played the UAE on Saturday, writes SIMON LEWIS.
Playing in his third ODI after having made his international debut in 2018 as a 15-year-old, Paudel came in to bat at number seven in the 30th over of the Nepal innings with his side’s score on 113-5 against the United Arab Emirates.
The teenager promptly added 82 for the sixth wicket with Aarif Sheikh (29 off 49 balls) to repair the damage done to the top order.
Paudel was caught behind by Ghulam Shabber off Amir Hayat after top-scoring with 55 off just 58 balls (7×4, S/R 94.82), having lifted his side to 208-7 at the start of the seventh over. Some big-hitting by the tail saw Nepal push through to 242-9 off their 50 overs.
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The UAE failed to get a grip on the Nepal bowlers, with Sompal Kami (5-33) and the highly-talented Sandeep Lamichhane (4-24) rolling their hosts for 97 in under 20 overs to win by 145 runs.
Paudel’s innings knocked two legends out of the record books, firstly by becoming the youngest man to score an international half-century at the age of 16 years and 146 days. This bettered legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar’s previous record when he scored a half-century in a Test against Pakistan at the tender age of 16 years and 213 days.
Tendulkar’s record of being the youngest man to score a Test fifty is certain to endure for another few years, however, as Nepal don’t have Test status.
For his second record, Paudel’s innings also made him the youngest man yet to score an ODI half-century, Shahid Afridi having hammered an unforgettable 37-ball century against Sri Lanka when the Pakistani youngster was 16 years and 217 days old.