Sports

Airee bats Nepal to series-levelling win

- ADARSHA DHAKAL, Dubai

Feb 2, 2019-

Dipendra Singh Airee finished off a thrilling chase against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to help Nepal level the three-match Twenty20 International Series with a four-wicket victory at the ICC Academy Oval on Friday.

On the back of a roaring crowd, a collective bowling effort helped Nepal bundle out the hosts for just 107 runs in 19.2 overs. Nepal had a poor start to their run chase as they were reduced to 46-5 before Airee forged a match-winning stand with Pawan Sarraf to lead his team to 111-6 in 19.3 overs.

Airee, who had a point to prove after running with a series of low scores in the preceding three-match ODI series and Thursday’s first Twenty20 International where he was dismissed for four, not only rebuilt the innings but also kept his cool in the last over to seal the victory with a four.

Nepal needed seven runs from the last over but lost Pawan Sarraf first ball to Amir Hayat ending a sixth wicket match-winning 55-run stand. Needing seven runs off five, Airee eased all the pressure smashing Hayat for a straight six and completed the chase cutting the bowler for a boundary down the third man region.

Man-of-the-match Airee scored 47 off 41 balls with four boundaries and a maximum. After finally getting some runs, that too under a crunch situation, Airee was a relieved man. “I was feeling a little bit incomplete after not managing to score in the first four matches. I was backing myself up and now this will give a good amount of confidence in coming matches,” said Airee.

Sarraf, who came in to replace veteran spinner Basanta Regmi, chipped in with a 25-ball 18 that included two hits to the fence. Nepal had a disastrous start after losing opener and skipper Paras Khadka for duck in the second ball and his opening partner Pradeep Airee (eight). Karan KC came in as surprise No 3 and played some big shots to score 23-ball 20 with two fours and a six. Nepal then lost Gyanendra Malla (seven), KC and Thursday’s half century scorer Sandeep Jora (one) in a space of 11 runs before the resurrection began under Airee and Sarraf. Sultan Ahmed took two wickets for UAE.

Nepali bowlers were on top of their game after fast bowling allrounder Sompal Kami struck in his first two overs. Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane bowled sensationally in his first over removing Thursday’s highest scorers Shaiman Anwar and Mohammad Usman in consecutive deliveries to put UAE on the back foot.

National team’s new entrant Avinash Bohora put in a perfect show picking up three wickets including that of the UAE top-scorer CP Rizwan, hard-hitter Mohammad Naveed and Hayat. Bohora took 3-20 from four overs. Opener Rizwan, who was dismissed in the 19th over as ninth wicket, scored 44 off 43 balls with four boundaries and a six. KC also took two wickets for Nepal. Anwar (14) and Mohammad Boota (11) were other UAE batsmen to make runs in double figures. Nepal skipper Khadka lauded his bowlers for the victory.

“The bowlers was once again did an outstanding job. The spell from Sompal was brilliant and Sandeep (Lamichhane) came in and Avinash also did amazing in his second match. Everyone chipped in with the ball today. We are not getting good starts but win is a win,” said Khadka who was happy to see Airee regain his form. “He (Airee) played according to his role. He had not been getting runs and really wanted to go out there and perform. He is someone whom we can rely on. In a stage like this he has done it before and I am glad that he has done it today again,” the captain added.

The third and deciding Twenty20 International is scheduled for Sunday.

Summary

Nepal 111-6 in 19.3 overs (DS Airee 47*, Karan KC 20; S Ahmed 2-9, M Naveed 1-18) beat UAE 107 in 19.2 overs (CP Rizwan 44, A Bohara 3-20, S Kami 2-15, S Lamichhane 2-19, Karan KC 2-22) by four wickets

Man-of-the-match: DS Airee

Published: 02-02-2019 09:55

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