Nepal managed to post a fighting total of 248 against UAE in a vital match for both teams in the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 series in Kathmandu on Sunday.
Despite a shaky start, Rohit Paudel’s anchoring inning and Dipendra Singh Airee and Gulshan Jha’s late blitz helped Nepal post a decent total.
Opting to bat first, Nepal lost both their openers (Kushal Bhurtel 8, Aasif Sheikh 0) within five overs as UAE’s strategy to bowl both left-arm spinners early on worked well. Kushal Malla, coming at No.3, didn’t last long, with Junaid Siddique dismissing him for 9. Nepal were 33 for 3 after the end of the first powerplay.
Rohit Paudel and Bhim Sharki (29) shared 54 runs for the fourth wicket before Bhim give away his wicket to Mustafa in the last ball of the 22nd over after slamming him for back-to-back four.
Skipper Rohit added another 86 runs with Aarif Sheikh to bring Nepal back on track. Aayan Khan eventually dismissed Rohit for 77 runs from 112 balls with nine fours. Aarif also contributed vital 52-ball 43 runs for his side.
It was Gulshan Jha who counter-attacked UAE bowlers and scored a brisk 32-ball 37, whacking three biggies.
Dipendra Singh Airee also joined Jha and smacked 34 runs from just 19 balls, smashing three fours and two sixes. Zahoor Khan dismissed Sompal Kami as Nepal wrapped up in 49.2 overs, scoring 248 runs.
For UAE, Aayan Khan, Zawar Farid, Zahoor Khan and Rohan Mustafa picked up a couple of wickets. Aaryan Lakra and Junaid Siddique picked up one each.
Nepal benched former captain Gyanendra Malla and Karan KC, while UAE fielded their playing XI without former skipper CP Rizwan.