Mehboob, Subash shape up four-wicket Nepal victory

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Mehboob, Subash shape up four-wicket Nepal victory

May 1, 2014-

Nepal made a rocking start to their ACC Premier League campaign with a four-wicket victory over the 2015 World Cup entrants the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a clinical finish that was set up by a heroic comeback from Mehboob Alam.

Alam — who made into the national fold at the expense of injured Amrit Bhattarai despite the unpredictable allrounder battling with form and fitness — returned with the figures of 3-21 that saw the UAE restricted to 191 in 48.1 overs. Subash Khakurel then anchored the innings with three crucial stands as Nepal cantered to victory making 195-6 in 39.5 overs at the Selangor Turf Club in Kuala Lumpur.

The victory, second for Nepal in their nine meetings, was also a revenge of the 102-run defeat inflicted by the UAE during the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in January.

Nepal had an early scare losing Naresh Budhayer (two) with just six runs on the board. Gyanendra Malla stepped in and played some blistering shots hammering 47 off just 37 balls in a 66-run stand with Subash. Malla slammed seven boundaries and a six before giving away his wicket to Fayyaz Ahmed.

Khakurel added another 59 runs with skipper Paras Khadka in a stand that gradually handed the momentum towards Nepal. Just when Khakurel was approaching his half century, Khadka lost his wicket to Salman Faris after a 40-ball 30. One ball later, Khakurel completed his half century with a boundary of the same bowler. Khakurel went on to share 38 runs for the fourth wicket with Sharad Vesawkar and when he departed, Nepal were just 27 runs away from victory. Man-of-the-match Khakurel top scored with 71 runs from 91 balls with 11 hits to the fence.

Though Nepal lost Vesawkar (16) and Alam (5) in the space of seven runs, Binod Bhandari (nine) and Basanta Regmi (eight) completed the chase. Fayyaz took 2-49 from 9.5 overs for the UAE.

Earlier, Alam — playing his first international match in almost two years — gave Nepal the first breakthrough removing opener Amjad Ali (seven) with just 15 runs on board. Young fast bowling sensation Som Pal Kami then got rid of dangerous Khurram Khan (0) reducing the UAE to 15-2. Sagar Pun struck in his second over removing another opener Salman Faris (16) as UAE were tottering at 37-3 in 13.3 overs.

UAE could only hit three fours in the first 14 overs, while Alam was hit for a boundary only once in his eight overs. Shaiman Anwar (14) was next to go off Shakti Gauchan before Swapnil Patil and Krishnachandran Karate rescued the UAE from a collapse. The two batsmen added 72 runs for fourth wicket before Patil ran himself out after making 76 off 95 with eight fours and two sixes.

Karate (36) and Mohammad Shahzad (25) resisted with a 32-run stand but with Gauchan removing the former in the 45th over, UAE went on to lose their last five wickets for just six runs. Alam and Som Pal took two wickets each to polish off the tail. Som Pal finished with 3-39 from 9.1 overs.

In other matches, Oman thumped Malaysia by 74 runs to stay at the top of table on net run-rate ahead of Nepal and Afghanistan, who defeated Hong Kong by six wickets in another game.

Published: 02-05-2014 09:07

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