Nepal secured the 2023 Asian Cup berth after beating the United Arab Emirates by seven wickets in the ACC Premier Cup Final at Tribhuvan University on Tuesday.
After a victory over the United Arab Emirates, Nepal will sit last in Group A, alongside India and Pakistan, with the Asian Cup due to take place in September.
Nepal, United Arab Emirates and Oman’s top three places in the Premier Cup mean they will also take part in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in July, where they will face ‘A’ teams from five full members in the region.
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Striking first, the United Arab Emirates managed to post 117 on the board. Asif Khan was the team’s top scorer with 46 balls from 54 including seven limits and one maximum.
For Nepal, Lalit Rajbanshi was the bowlers’ pick, finishing with 4/14-inch numbers. Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane claimed 2/34 at the other end, moving to a 33-match ODI streak of wicket outs.
In response, Gulshan Jha’s promotion to No. 3 in the batting order proved to be a masterstroke. He first negotiated the orthodox left arm of Aayan Khan, before countering with an array of shots.
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The 17-year-old had an unbeaten 67 and stitched a 96-point partnership with Bhim Sharki (36) and helped his side chase the target in 30 overs, securing Nepal’s qualification for the 2023 Asian Cup.
For the United Arab Emirates, Rohan Mustafa was the most economical bowler with figures of 2/13.
There is uncertainty regarding the Asian Cup as India have already expressed their reluctance to participate in the matches hosted in Pakistan, which is the designated host country.
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According to several reports, BCCI are planning to play their Asian Cup 2023 matches at a neutral venue and it remains to be seen how the situation will develop in the coming months.
With PTI entries
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