Friday, 1 December, 2023

UAE dash Nepal’s T20 World Cup hope


By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Feb 23 : Nepal’s dream of playing the T20 World Cup for the second time got dashed after suffering a 68-run loss at the hand of the UAE in the semifinal of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers A in Muscat, Oman, Tuesday. 

Captain Ahmed Raza came up with his magical spell of a five-wicket haul as the UAE bundled out Nepal for 107 in 18.4 overs. Electing to bat first, the UAE amassed 175 runs losing seven wickets in 20 overs.

The UAE and Ireland booked their ticket to Australia, where the world cup proper will be held from October 16 to November 13. Ireland defeated host Oman by 56 runs in the second semifinal held in Muscat today. 

At Al Amerat Stadium, Nepali top order struggled against UAE bowler Junaid Siddique as he trapped Aasif Sheikh (0) for lbw, made Lokesh Bam caught by Waseem for a golden duck out and made wicket-keeper Aravind catch out the wicket of Kushal Bhurtel (7) in 2.5 overs. Siddique finished with a figure of 3-27. 

After tottering to 14/3 Nepal’s hope lay on the in-form Dipendra Singh Airee. Airee joined with Aarif Sheikh to add 36-run for the fourth wicket stand. Aarif (12-ball 11) returned to the dugout after being caught by Aravind off Rohan Mustafa in 7.1 overs. 

With Nepal 50/4, Airee put up a 30-run stand with former captain Gyanendra Malla for the fifth wicket. 

But orthodox spinner Ahmed Raza put on the fullstop to Nepal’s batting resistance by picking two wickets in successive two balls of 13th over. 

Malla collected 16-ball 20 before being caught by Waseem off Raza in 12.4 over. Airee followed Malla contributing run-a-ball 38 with Nepal reduced to 83/6 in 12.5 overs. Airee hit three boundaries before being trapped lbw off Raza. 

Raza also picked the wicket of Captain Sandeep Lamichhane (4) and Bibek Yadav (8) in the 16th over. He dismissed tail-ender Kamal Airee (4) for his fifth wicket. His miserly four-over spell conceded 19 balls. 

Zahoor Khan bowled Jitendra Mukhiya (5) to send the UAE to the final and world cup proper to be held in Australia. 
Nepal’s unbeaten run in Oman also got ended after today’s loss. En route to the semifinals, Nepal defeated Oman by 39 runs, beat the Philippines by 136 runs and outplayed Canada by eight wickets in the Group A matches.

Earlier, Medium-pacer Jitendra Mukhiya gave Nepal a good start by bowling out opener Chirag Suri (4) in the 1.4 overs. 
The UAE opener Muhammad Waseem put up a 66-run partnership with Vriitya Aravind for a third wicket to torment Nepali bowlers until leg-spinner Lamichhane gave a breakthrough in the 7.3 overs.  

Aravind, who was bowled off Lamichhane’s googly, clubbed three sixes and five boundaries in his quick-fire of 23-ball 46. 

Opener Waseem led the UAE for a big total as he partnered with Muhammad Usman (24-ball 17) to add 64 runs for the fourth wicket. 

Fast bowler Abinash Bohara broke the partnership by making Usman catch by Gyanendra Malla in 16.1 overs. 

Bohara then picked a significant wicket of Opener Waseem, who returned to the dugout smashing 48-ball 70 with UAE 140/4 on the scoreboard. Waseem’s batting included four boundaries and four sixes before being caught by Aarif.  

Zawar Farid hit one six and one four to add 11 runs off four balls. Rohan Mustafa (5-ball 9) and Captain Ahmed Raza (4-ball 6) remained not out for the UAE.  
Bowler Mukhiya and Bohara finished with a figure of 3-35 and 3-46.