After Captain Rohit Paudel’s unbeaten half-century innings during a crisis, the home team Nepal defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by seven wickets in the first match of the tri-nation T-20 international series on Wednesday. This series also includes Hong Kong.
Nepal’s Captain Rohit won the toss and decided to field first at Mulpani Cricket Ground (upper), where the international T20 match was played for the first time. Nepal’s bowlers proved the captain’s decision correct by restricting UAE to 140 runs, losing seven wickets in the scheduled 20 overs. Nepal achieved the target by scoring 144 runs, losing three wickets with seven balls remaining.
Rohit also completed his half-century by hitting the winning boundary, scoring 51 runs off 40 balls with five fours. Rohit received a lifeline when he was on 12 runs. He was named the Player of the Match. Dipendra Singh Airee also remained unbeaten, scoring 34 runs off 23 balls, including three fours and a six.
Nepal’s victory became possible after these two shared a 93-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Before their partnership, Nepal had already lost three wickets after scoring 51 runs in the ninth over. Opening batsman Kushal Bhurtel scored 14 runs off 14 balls with a four and was caught out by spinner Nilans Keswani. The one-down batsman, Kushal Malla, contributed 11 runs off 9 balls but was run out while attempting a run with Aasif Sheikh. Two overs after Kushal’s dismissal, Aasif was caught out by UAE captain Muhammad Waseem after failing to read Ali Naseer’s slow ball. Aasif scored 23 runs off 27 balls with two fours and a six.
Earlier, fast bowler Karan KC’s brilliant bowling prevented UAE from posting a big score. Basil Hameed top-scored with 51 runs in 38 balls for UAE, featuring four sixes and a four. Basil rescued UAE’s innings by sharing a 56-run partnership with Naseer for the fifth wicket. Nasir scored 32 runs off 30 balls with three fours and a six.
Nepal found success in the first over of the match as opening bowler Sompal Kami dismissed Khalid Shah. Then, Karan and Gulsan Jha weakened the UAE middle order. Karan conceded only 19 runs in four overs and took three wickets. Gulsan conceded 11 runs in three overs and claimed two wickets. Another fast bowler, Abinash Bohera, added his name to the list of wicket-takers by taking a wicket in the last over.
Debut of the spinner Shyam Dhakal
All three Nepalese spinners failed to take wickets in UAE’s innings. Spinner Shyam Dhakal made his debut in T20 international cricket for Nepal but remained wicketless after conceding 13 runs in two overs.
“Bowling won the match”
Although UAE Captain Waseem bowled well in the first ten overs while defending the target, it was Rohit and Dipendra’s batting that took the game away from UAE. Similarly, Nepal’s Captain Rohit attributed the victory to good bowling and said, “The batting could have been better, but I am happy with the win.”
Interview with Basil Hameed