Nepal strengthened their batting line-up in the first One-day International against the United Arab Emirates and still, they were 84-run short of the target.
Rohit Kumar Paudel, Nepal’s newly appointed Captain won the toss and opted to field. Arjun Saud and Harishankar Sah received their ODI cap, becoming the 35th and 36th players to appear in Nepal’s ODI setup.
The UAE team, coming from T20 World Cup in Australia, stick to the ODI basics and made the Nepali bowlers toil hard to earn their first wicket.
Muhammad Waseem and Vriitya Aravind put up 75 runs on the board in 14.2 overs without any hiccups. Waseem made a run-a-ball 44, hitting 6 boundaries and a six while Aravind managed 40 off 82 balls with 6 boundaries.
Rohan Mustafa missed the T20 World Cup but he was in good nick to add his sixth fifty in ODI. He scored 53 runs off 73 balls. The 34-year-old all-rounder is a popular overseas player in Nepal as he plays for various franchises.
Alishan Sharafu 29(39), Basil Hameed 14(16), and Aayan Afzal Khan 26(28) all contributed in the middle overs. Although Nepal were brilliant in the field producing three run-outs, Ahmed Raza towards the end, smashed two sixes and a boundary in his quick-fire 27 runs innings from 16 balls to take UAE past 250.
UAE finished the first innings with 263 runs on the board, including 27 extras.
Gulshan Jha was brilliant in his opening spell, taking two wickets to dismiss the opener Waseem and the top order-batter Rizwan, however, he didn’t finish his 10-over quota. Karan KC was wicket-less (10-0-59-0) and Sompal Kami produced just 1 wicket (10-0-67-1).
Arjun Saud hit 5 boundaries in his 79-ball innings to manage his maiden fifty and Airee managed his first fifty for Nepal in ODI, scoring 54 off 84 balls.
Apart from the two, Aasif Sheikh failed scoring just 12 off 19 balls. Former Skipper Gyanendra Malla was out for a duck. Rohit Paudel could only manage 1 run from 5 balls. Debutant Harishankar Sah looked solid in the middle but failed to convert after playing 21 deliveries for his 8 runs.
Kushal Bhurtel came as a seventh batter, that’s how deep was Nepal’s batting order today, but he also failed, making just 6 runs off 13 balls.
Aayan Afzal Khan was the star with the ball, taking four wickets. Khan, on the eve of celebrating his 17th birthday, received his ODI cap and immediately became an impact player. He took a wicket with his first ball and a wicket with his third and later finished the spell with a figure of 10-4-14-4.
Nepal finished the match at 179/9, thanks to Gulshan Jha, who contributed 19 runs with a boundary and six towards the end.
Basil Hameed grabbed two wickets and Zahoor Khan, Rohan Mustafa, and Ahmed Raza shared one wicket each.
Nepal has now lost three encounters against UAE while batting second this year. UAE defeated Nepal by 48 runs in ICC CWCL2 on March 18, defeated Nepal by 99 runs in another ICC CWCL2 on March 21, and today by 84 runs.
Nepal will take on UAE in the second ODI on Wednesday at the same venue.