KATHMANDU, Dec 7: Nepal suffered a seven-wicket defeat to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) match on Wednesday.
In the first leg match of the last round of WCLC played at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, Nepal was invited to bat after losing the toss and made a total of 221-6 in the allotted 50 overs. In reply, the UAE garnered 225-3 in 45.5 overs.
After the match, the positions of both the sides remained unchanged in the eight-team contest as Nepal is still in the sixth place with nine points earned from 13 matches whereas seventh-placed UAE extended its points tally to eight.
It was a dead-rubber match between Nepal and the UAE as both sides have been relegated to Division 2 following their failure to cement their places in the top four of WCLC.
Nepal had made a positive start to the innings with openers Gyanendra Malla and Dilip Nath creating a 43-run partnership for the first wicket. Vice-captain Malla smashed 54 runs, including six boundaries, facing 83 balls, which was the second highest score for Nepal. Likewise, Nath made 39-ball 16. Unbeaten Sharad Vesawkar was the highest scorer for Nepal with 81 runs including five boundaries in 95 deliveries. Captain Paras Khadka who came to bat at fourth number managed to score just 20 runs. Another middle-order batsman Aarif Sheikh was out for a duck while Binod Bhandari was dismissed for four runs.
Sompal Kami contributed 19-ball 20 where as Basant Regmi was not-out on 14 runs. Sagar Pun, Dipendra Singh Airee and Karan KC were absentees of the Nepali team.
The UAE's Zahoor Khan claimed two wickets while Mohammad Naveed Ahmed, Ahmed Raza and Rohan Mustafa added one wicket each.
The UAE reached the target with 25 balls to spare after its two batsmen including Rohan Mustafa and Ghulam Shabber hit half-centuries. Opener Mustafa made an impressive 71-ball 62 while top scorer Shabber smashed 81 runs facing 116 deliveries. Likewise, Ashfaq Ahmed and Rameez Shahzad made 19 and 37 runs respectively.
Sandeep Lamichhane and Vesawkar claimed one wicket each for Nepal.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands has confirmed the WCLC title after defeating Namibia by eight wickets in its first leg of the last round match at ICC Academy Ground in Dubai. With the win over Namibia, the bottom-placed team in the WCLC points table, the Netherlands has extended its points tally to 20 from 13 matches. Second-placed Scotland, which has already qualified for the World Cup Qualifiers 2018 along with the Netherlands, overcame Kenya by eight wickets.
Similarly, Hong Kong also secured its berth for the world cup qualifiers beating Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 23 runs. Despite the defeat, PNG also has booked its place in the world cup qualifiers. Third-placed PNG and fourth-placed Hong Kong have equal 16 points from 13 matches.
With a defeat to Scotland, Kenya has now been relegated to Division 2 before the second leg match that will be held on Friday. Kenya will join Nepal, Namibia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Canada in Division 2 to be hosted in Namibia early next year. Two teams from Division 2 will earn the world cup qualifiers tickets.