Nepal defeated arch-rivals UAE in the semi final of the ACC T20 Cup by 6 wickets thanks to first exquisite bowling from Prithu Baskota in the first innings followed by sensible(although uncharacteristic) batting by Pradeep Airee in the second inning.
Over 20000 Nepali Cricket Lovers had gathered at TU ground to witness the semi-final match between Nepal and UAE, and the Nepali Team did not disappoint overhauling UAE with both bat and the ball.
Batting first UAE posted 133 runs losing 9 wickets. Swapnil Patil top scored for UAE with 37 runs and Mohamed Azam made an unbeaten 24. Prithu Baskota starred with the ball picking up three wickets, Basanta and Shakti grabbed two wickets each.
Winning the toss UAE choose to bat first and Nepal was on top of UAE right from the start. Prithu came into bowl the second over and provided Nepal the break through right away-opener Bakhtiyar Hamid cutting the ball straight into the hands of Sharad Veswarkar at backward point. He picked up another wicket his over next over as dangerous Amjad Ali lofted a tossed up ball straight into the hand of Gyanendra Malla at the long on. UAE then 15-2, Abdul Shakoor and Swapnil Patil added 31 together before Shakoor fell to Basanta on 18.
The next few batsmen consolidate pretty well, Rohan Mustafa added 16 before getting out to Prithu in the 14th over. Swapnil fell soon after top scoring for his team with 37 hitting a half volley from Sanjam straight into the hand of deep mid wicket fielder. The scoring rate then fell a little bit thanks to a wicket median from Basanta.
Mohamed Azam and Fyayaz Ahmed fired at the end to push the score past 130. Shakti Gauchan grabbed 2 wickets in the final over of the match.
Chasing 133 Nepal made a steady start. Openers Pradeep and Shubash played very sensibly adding 61 for the first wicket. Shubash fell for well made 22. Pradeep was then joined by Gyanendra Malla who made 20 in 18 balls and the duo took the teams score past 100.
Pradeep soon got out bowled by Fyayaz Ahmend for 58 run in the first ball of 18th over,after Pradeep’s departure Basanta Regmi was sent in but he fell the very first ball, slow ball from Fyayaz Ahmed taking his edge and into point fielder’s hand.
At the end of 18th over, Nepal required 18 runs to win. In form Binod Bhandari then came to the rescue scoring 2 sixes of Arsad Ali’s 19th over. The penultimate over fetched 16 of the 18 runs, Nepal got the final runs in the first ball of the 20th over defeating UAE by 7 wickets with 5 balls remaining.
ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratnanayeke rightly adjudged not a man of the match but two men of the matche Pradeep Airee and Prithu Baskota.
This is the first T20 Victory for Nepal against UAE. Nepal will tomorrow take on Afghanistan in the final of ACC T20 Cup.