More than 20 people have been arrested at the UAE’s deciding one-day international against Nepal in Kathmandu for suspected “pitch-siding”.
The spectators were ejected from the Tribhuvan University ground during the first innings of the game, while UAE were batting.
Pitch-siding is the practice of transmitting information from sports events for the purpose of gambling, or of placing bets directly from the sidelines of matches.
In the case of the ODI in Nepal, the spectators are believed to be suspected of live gambling via apps on their mobile phones, and beating the odds on betting sites because of the time lag of the live broadcast.
According to ekantipur.com, the Central Investigation Bureau of the Nepal Police have seized the mobile phones of those arrested.
A number of spectators had been placed under surveillance earlier in the series, which led to them being detained on Friday.
The incident did not detract from what was a carnival atmosphere for the finale to the series, which is poised at 1-1.
Even before the first ball was bowled, a band was playing on the grass banks of Nepal international cricket ground.
The crowd subsequently swelled into the thousands, which included many entering through gaps in the rusty, barbed wire fences. Hundreds more watched on from beyond the perimeter walls.
Immediately at the conclusion of the UAE innings, the main gates were thrown open and thousands more flooded in. That was also the cue for many more to scale the walls.
Their hopes of seeing their side claim a series win were buoyed by a fine start by the home team.
Nepal’s bowlers responded brilliantly after Rohit Paudel, their captain, won the toss and invited UAE to bat first.
The tourists were quickly reduced to 16 for three during a fine new-ball spell by Sompal Kami and Gulsan Jha.
By the time UAE had capitulated to 93 for nine, it appeared the home fans were set to celebrate a quick victory.
But Aayan Khan, who celebrated his 17th birthday earlier in this tour, marshalled a remarkable rearguard alongside the UAE’s No 11, Hazrat Bilal.
Between them, they hand an unbroken stand worth 83 for the last wicket, taking the national team to 176 for nine. Aayan finished unbeaten on 54, which was his maiden ODI half-century.