Kathmandu, March 16
Nepal have created history by directly qualifying for the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe after beating the UAE by 9 runs via the Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) method.
The umpires stopped the play after the 44th over due to poor light, by when Nepal had scored 269 for the loss of six wickets and needed 42 runs in 36 balls.
Batting first, the UAE started explosively with Muhammad Waseem continuing his fine form from Wednesday. Despite Lalit Rajbanshi getting an early wicket, Waseem continued his power hitting scoring a quick-fire 50 before getting out to Sandeep Lamichhane for 63.
The UAE innings was then steadied by Vriitya Aravind who played the role of an anchor despite wickets falling on the other end. Aravind narrowly missed out on a century, but his 135-run partnership with Asif Khan proved pivotal as the UAE reached an above-par score of 310 in 50 overs.
Khan took on the Nepali bowlers all over the park including four sixes in an over off Lamichhane as he finished with 101 off 42 balls. This was the fourth-quickest century in ODI cricket.
Apart from Lalit Rajbanshi and Dipendra Singh Airee, Nepali bowlers had a hard time as others proved quite costly. Sompal Kami went for 74 runs while Lamichanne and Gulshan Jha went for 80 and 63 runs respectively.
In reply, Nepal got off to a poor start losing opener Aasif Sheikh in the very first over. Kushal Malla and captain Rohit Paudel soon followed Sheikh back to the dressing room without adding much to the total. Kushal Bhurtel tried to play an anchor role as he posted a quickfire 50, but when he held out in the 17th over, things started looking bad for Nepal.
The Nepali innings was steadied by Bhim Sarki and Aarif Sheikh who put up an 83-run stand. When Sarki got out trying to up the scoring with the lights getting poorer, Nepal looked to be in a bit of bother but Sheikh’s 52 and Gulshan Jha’s 48-ball 50 took Nepal ahead of the UAE via the DLS method taking them to the World Cup Qualifiers in dramatic fashion.
This was Nepal’s 11th win in the past 12 games and have finished third in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 behind champions Scotland and Oman.