Nepal lost its important match today at Al Amerat to qualify for the T20 World Cup in Australia this year.
UAE stopped the three-match winning run of Nepal with a 68-run victory. UAE exhibited a clinical performance to reach the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup for the second time. The last time UAE made it to the global showpiece event was in 2014.
Opting to bat first, UAE’s 19-year-old, Vriitya Aravind, continued with his blazing batting display. A whirlwind knock of 46 off 23 set the tone for his team’s impressive total. UAE plans to get off a fast start in the match were thwarted by Nepal bowlers.
Chirag Suri was castled by Jitendra Mukhiya, who finished with a three-wicket haul, as UAE were 6-1 in 10 balls. Opener Muhammad Waseem regained his touch and along with Aravind took the rival attack to the cleaners.
Waseem launched the first six of the game and then went on to showcase an exhibition of some powerful hitting around the park. Aravind smashed three boundaries in the fourth off Mukhiya. The 19-year-old batter was in his own zone as he produced some sizzling shots over the next few overs.
A six and a four off Abinash Bohara were followed by another six and a boundary off Nepal captain Sandeep Lamichhane. A second successive half-century was all for his taking but Lamichhane struck in his second over to end Aravind’s hurricane 23-ball innings.
The teenager had hammered 5 fours and 3 maximums. He has now scored 267 runs so far to be the leading run-getter in the qualifiers.
Waseem and Muhammad Usman then shared a stand of 64. Waseem cut loose in the 11th over smashing two boundaries and a six of Bohara. The opener reached his half-century in style with a six-off Kamal Airee.
With five overs remaining, UAE were 131/2. They put the pedal on the metal but lost two wickets in the 17th over off Bohara, who dismissed Usman and Waseem.
Waseem’s 48-ball 70 was laced with 4 fours and 4 sixes. Zawar Farid’s big hits got UAE a productive over, but he perished in the same over. UAE added another 21 in the last two overs to reach 175.
During the chase, UAE’s quicks, were in top gear, removing the top-three Nepal batters in his three-over spell. A sensational opening over saw Siddique sending back opener Aasif Sheikh and one-down batter Lokesh Bam off two successive balls. Nepal were 3-2 in six balls and the chase looked a tall order.
Siddique then took the prize scalp of Nepal’s in-form batter Kushal Bhurtel in his second over. UAE skipper Ahmed Raza’s double-strike in the 13th over extinguished whatever hopes Nepal had as they were down to 83-6.
Raza’s golden arm found him more success to wrap up Nepal innings for 107 and his five-wicket haul earned him the player of the match award. The experienced duo of Dipendra Singh Airee (38) and Gyanendra Malla were the only batters to reach double digits.