Beating tough nuts Nepal raises UAE’s spirits ahead of World Twenty20

They were beaten by the Netherlands, who they meet first in this competition on Monday, and Nepal in practice matches in Sharjah last week.
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - March 07 2014 - Wiki keeper Subash Khahurel plays for the Nepal Cricket team. The UAE played against Nepal at a cricket match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium before their upcoming tournament in Bangladesh. Reporter: Paul Radley. Section: Sport (Razan Alzayani / The National)
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - March 07 2014 - Wiki keeper Subash Khahurel plays for the Nepal Cricket team. The UAE played against Nepal at a cricket match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium before their upcoming tournament in Bangladesh. Reporter: Paul Radley. Section: Sport (Razan Alzayani / The National)

The UAE will start their mission improbable at the World Twenty20 with their spirits revived after a solid win over Nepal in their final warm-up game in Fatullah.

Despite their strong form over the past two years, the national team have had an indifferent lead-in to their biggest competition in 18 years.

They were beaten by the Netherlands, who they meet first in this competition on Monday, and Nepal in practice matches in Sharjah last week.

After pushing Bangladesh close on Wednesday, they avenged last week’s hefty loss to Nepal by easing past the Himalayan nation with six wickets and seven balls to spare.

Asadullah Sharif, the fast bowler from Ajman, was the most successful of the UAE’s bowlers taking three for 15 from his four overs.

His effort was the cornerstone of another uplifting display by the national team’s little-heralded pace attack.

Kamran Shazad, the fastest bowler in the side, took two for 19 while Manjula Guruge returned a thrifty one for seven off his three overs as Nepal succumbed to 95 all out.

“Nepal always give us a tough time so it was good to get this win,” said Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach, whose side travel to Sylhet today ahead of their preliminary round group matches.

Aaqib said the tough warm-up matches the UAE have encountered before their World T20 debut have been perfect preparation.

“I think we have had a good start, because we had a really tight game against Bangladesh,” he said of the four-wicket defeat to the host nation.

“Then to win against Nepal, the boys are feeling confident and excited. It is a first ever World Cup for them and they are looking forward to the first game against the Netherlands.”

Paras Khadka, the captain who hit a ball from the centre wicket onto the grandstand roof when Nepal were practising in Sharjah last week, top scored with 27.

The Nepal capitulation meant the UAE barely broke sweat in chasing victory, with Swapnil Patil making 33 and Shaiman Anwar an unbeaten 30.

Pubudu Dassanayake, the Nepal coach, said finishing top among the non-Test sides in their four-team preliminary pool would constitute success for Nepal at the World T20.

“We want to be at least in the top of the associate sides, so we are looking forward to our two games against Afghanistan and Hong Kong,” Dassanayake said.

“Even against Bangladesh, we believe that a T20 game is anybody’s game. We have the capacity, we have a lot of passion in the team, they have put a lot of hard work in.

“We just want to play as hard as we can and win as many games as we can. We are up for it. Our fans would go crazy if we did.”

pradley@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter at SprtNationalUAE

Published: March 14, 2014 04:00 AM

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