Paras Khadka (Image courtesy: AFP)
Paras Khadka (Image courtesy: AFP)

In a close finale of ICC World Cricket League Division II, UAE triumphed over Nepal by 7 runs. A chase of 278 was always a huge task. Nepal’s batting lineup had failed throughout the tournament, and skipper Paras Khadka‘s lack of runs were hurting them. But Khadka decided to step up in the final and counterattacked with 3 fours and 8 sixes. Unfortunately, he ran out of partners towards the end. As a result, UAE won the championship. However, both sides will board the flight to Zimbabwe for the much-awaited 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.

Openers Dilip Nath and Gyanendra Malla fell before the score reached 50. Khadka initiated the repair along with the middle order. He added 73 with Dipendra Singh for the third wicket. The scoring was tough amidst tight bowling, and the duo took time to get going.

From 174 for 3 Nepal were suddenly reduced to 186 for 5. Sharad Vesawkar departed for a 37-ball 30 and Aarif Sheikh for 7. The onus rested completely on Khadka’s shoulders, and he didn’t disappoint. Sensing the mounting asking rate, he upped the ante.

Karan KC and Sompal Karni’s failures added onto the pressure. In the end, with 28 required off 6 balls, Nepal managed only 2 singles off the first 2 balls. Khadka hit 3 sixes off the last 4 balls, but it was never going to be enough. He finished on 112 not out. For UAE, Amir Hayat finished with 4 for 53. His late strikes dented Nepal’s progress.

Electing to bat, UAE had earlier ridden on opener Ashfaq Ahmed’s 114 and late onslaughts by Rameez Shahzad and Shaiman Anwar. Yesterday’s star Karan returned with 0 for 68. Karni, Sandeep Lamichhane and Basant Regmi chipped in with a wicket each.

Brief scores

UAE 277 for 4 in 50 overs (Rohan Mustafa 51, Ashfaq Ahmed 114, Rameez Shahzad 41, Shaiman Anwar 40; Sandeep Lamichhane 1 for 39) beat Nepal 270 for 8 in 50 overs (Paras Khadka 112*, Dipendra Singh 35, Sharad Vesawkar 30; Amir Hayat 4 for 53) by 7 runs.