New Zealand have been stunned by qualifiers Nepal in the opening match of the under-19 Cricket World Cup, losing by 32 runs in Fatullah.

Nepal, which won the qualifying event in Malaysia last year to return to the World Cup after missing the previous tournament in 2014, bowled New Zealand out for 206 after setting a 239-run target.

New Zealand opener Glenn Phillips top-scored 52 but frequent wickets made the chase difficult. Dale Phillips looked to have got New Zealand back in the hunt with 41 from 50 balls late in the innings but run out from the boundary to be the last wicket to fall.

It is the second time New Zealand has lost to Nepal at the under-19 level, going down in the 2006 plate final by 1 wicket, a match which featured current Black Caps Tim Southee, Colin Munro, Martin Guptill and Todd Astle.

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New Zealand skipper Josh Finnie said his side messed up what should have been a comfortable run-chase.

"We made the target more difficult for ourselves," he said. "We must now win the next two games against India and Ireland if we are to progress."

New Zealand will next face India on Saturday before their final pool match against Ireland.