Nepal won by three wickets against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the seventh-place playoff semi-final match of the ongoing ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe. After registering their fifth consecutive one-day international victory against the UAE, Nepal will now play against Ireland in the playoff final for seventh place on Tuesday.
Nepal’s victory was not easy at the Takashinga Sports Club ground in Harare. Chasing the target of 182 runs, Nepal scored 106 runs and lost seven wickets. Dipendra Airee shared an unbeaten 79 runs with Sandeep Lamichhane for the eighth wicket and took Nepal to victory in the 44th over. Before this, Airee shared 43 runs with Gulsan Jha for the seventh wicket.
Batting brilliantly under pressure, Airee scored an unbeaten 79 in which he hit seven fours and two sixes off 85 balls. He was also declared the player of the match.
Airee scored a half-century in one-day internationals after 16 matches. He last scored an unbeaten 85 against Scotland at home in February this year. This is Airee’s third ODI fifty in 49 matches. He scored a century against Papua New Guinea in March 2022.
Sandeep supported Airee at the crease and scored 23 unbeaten runs in 37 balls with the help of two fours. Gulsan scored 12 runs. Earlier, although opener Kushal Bhurtel scored 35 runs, other top-order batsmen could not stay at the crease for long. Gyanendra Malla, who got his first chance in the tournament, scored 13 runs, Arjun Saud scored 1 run. Captain Rohit Paudel scored 4 runs, Bhim Shari and Aarif Sheikh scored 1 each.
UAE pacer Muhammad Jawadullah took three wickets and Junaid Siddiqui, Ali Nasir, Sanchit Sharma, and Rohan Mustafa took one each.
Earlier, the UAE lost the toss and were all out for 181 runs in 46.5 overs.
Captain Vriitya Aravind contributed the most for the UAE with 44 runs. Rohan Mustafa contributed 35 runs, Basil Hameed 29, and Aryansh Sharma 28.
Sandeep Lamichhane and Karan KC took three wickets each for Nepal. Sandeep bowled three maidens in 10 overs giving 23 runs while Karan cost 36 runs in 8.5 overs. Pratish JC, Gulsan Jha, and Dipendra Airee took one wicket each.
In the group stage of the competition, Nepal was at the fourth position of Group A while the UAE was at the fifth position of Group B. Nepal won one and lost three in four matches while the UAE lost all four matches.