Nepal edge UAE by three wickets for a series-levelling victoryAarif Sheikh and Gulsan Jha put on a 62-run stand for the seventh wicket to guide the Rhinos to win and square the series 1-1.
Nepal defeated the United Arab Emirates by three wickets in the second One-Day International match to level the series 1-1 on Wednesday.
Chasing a target of 192 runs at the TU cricket ground, Nepali batters Aarif Sheikh and Gulsan Jha put on a 62-run stand for the seventh wicket to guide Nepal to 193-7 in 47.5 overs.
Nepal’s batting order has long come under sharp criticisms for its inconsistencies, and the woes continued again, with openers Arjun Saud and Aasif Sheikh departing cheaply thanks to an early blow from UAE bowler Hazrat Bilal.
Monday’s big hitter Saud, who made a fairytale ODI debut hitting a half-century in the first match, was out for a nought, caught by Sabir Ali off Bilal.
Aarif’s poor form continued on Tuesday as well. The 21-year-old right handed batter scored 6 runs before Bilal had him caught by Basil Hameed.
Skipper Rohit Paudel is having a horror stint in Kirtipur. Captaining his only second ODI, Paudel was sent back next for 8 runs, trapped leg in front by Rohan Mustafa. Since his appointment as captain on Friday, Paudel has only managed 9 runs.
Former skipper Gyanendra Malla, who played a 59-ball 26, combined with Kushal Bhurtel to crawl Nepal to 54 before he was run out in the 17.3 overs, as Nepal stared at a second defeat and a series loss.
But Bhurtel breathed some life into the innings hitting 35 runs facing 52 deliveries, before he became the second victim of Mustafa.
Dipendra Singh Airee, who also scored a fifty in the first ODI, added 13 runs.
But Sheikh and Jha held their nerves late in the innings. Sheikh hit an unbeaten 33 off 58 balls and Jha smashed a player-of-the-match 37 off 49 to guide Nepal to a series-levelling victory.
Sompal Kami was not out on 16 runs.
Earlier, Kami and Lalit Rajbanshi shared six wickets between them to restrict the UAE to 191 in 43-2 over despite Muhammad Waseem shining with the bat with a half century.
The opener smashed 50 off 46 balls—which included three boundaries and four sixes. He shared a 72-run partnership with Vriitya Aravind, who made 25, for the first wicket to give the UAE a solid start to their innings.
But Airee put a break in their march removing Aravind in the fifth delivery of the 12th over.
Rajbanshi then pocketed the prized wicket of Waseem, caught by Sheikh in the 15th over.
Mustafa (4) was out next, bowled by Kami.
Captain Chundangapoyil Rizwan (22) partnered with Alishan Sharafu to fight off the Nepali pacers but Bhurtel had him caught by Paudel.
The UAE were reeling at 145-5 when Vishnu Sukumaran, who was making his ODI debut, returned contributing 15, caught by Aasif in the 34th over.
But Sharafu’s 35 off 43 helped the UAE steady the ship until Jha had him caught by Airee.
Hameed added 24 but Kami and Rajbanshi combined to polish off the tail.
The teams will play the third and decisive ODI on Friday.