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UAE shatters Nepal dream to play Asia cup
The senior Nepali cricket team is facing the same problem for a long time. The team looks impressive in the league round. The players do not have to work hard to advance to the knock-out round. But once the team reaches the quarter-finals or semi-finals, the players fail to perform and Nepal return empty handed.
It happened in 2004 ACC Trophy in Malaysia when the team lost to Qatar in the quarter-finals. The same fate followed when they lost to the UAE in 2006 ACC Trophy and the biggest shock came earlier this year when they were stopped by Afghanistan in the semi-finals in the ICC World Cricket League Division V tournament in Jersey.
On Friday, the Nepali national team was up against the UAE in the semi-finals of the ACC Trophy Elite Cup here at the Selangor Turf Club. They were just one win away from the 2010 Asia Cup berth and the team faltered again dashing Nepal’s hopes of playing against the Asian giants in the one-day format tournament.
The six-wicket loss on Friday is Nepal’s sixth loss to the UAE in as many encounters. The team had entered the semi-finals with high morale winning the four league matches impressively.
As planned skipper Binod Das won the toss and elected to bat. The opening pair of Paresh Lohani and Kanishka Chaugain was the greatest disappointment.
They failed again. After scoring 29 runs in the first four overs, Chaugain chased the wide ball and was caught behind. Lohani (24) further added 21 runs for the second wicket with Sharad Vesawkar, but got trapped leg before by skipper Khurram Khan while trying to play a sweep shot.
Nepal came under pressure after in-form vice captain Paras Khadka (6) was trapped leg before, also by Khan. The situation became worse at 75-4 when Gyanendra Malla (7) went for a big shot and handed a catch at the deep short mid-wicket.
Vesawkar and Shakti Gauchan tried to pull the team out of trouble. The duo shared 49-run stand for the fifth wicket taking the team to 124 runs and the UAE struck again. Vesawkar could not read the flighted delivery from Shadeep Silva and was bowled for 33 runs.
Five runs later, Gauchan was run out in the horrible mix up with Mehboob Alam. Gauchan top-scored with 35 runs. Alam made 15, while others failed to score in double figures and Nepal’s innings folded at 166 runs in 47.3 overs.
Apart from Khan (3-20), Shadeep Silva and Arsad Ali also bowled impressively taking two wickets each for UAE. In reply, the UAE overcame the target losing four wickets in 45.4 overs.
Nepal made the first breakthrough at the score of 20 when Alam bowled Mohammad Iqbal for 13 runs. The Nepali bowlers did not allow the UAE batsmen score freely, but failed to take wickets. Skipper Khurram Khan, who was dropped by Sanjam Regmi off Paras Khadka at the score of 17, punished the Nepali bowlers and scored an unbeaten 42, which also earned him the man of the match award. Ramij Shahjad finished off the match with a six off Gyanendra Malla.
Out of the eight bowlers used by Das, Sharad Vesawkar took two, while Paras Khadka and Mehboob Alam claimed one wicket each
. >> Scorecrad