The UAE’s chances of playing at the Asia Cup look increasingly remote after they succumbed to Nepal’s bowlers in the ACC Premier Cup final in Kathmandu on Monday.
Heavy rainfall in Nepal’s capital brought a halt to the game shortly before noon, and has meant it will spill over into its reserve day on Tuesday.
UAE will restart with just one wicket remaining having capitulated to 106 for nine in 27.3 overs.
The game will remain 50 overs per side. If there is no play possible on Tuesday, and the match is declared a no result, the first tie-breaker is a Super Over.
If that is also washed out, Nepal would qualify for the Asia Cup on account of being the higher seeded of the two sides ahead of the competition.
If Nepal do succeed, it will be their first appearance at an Asia Cup. They will be pitched into a group with India and Pakistan at the main event in September, assuming the competition does go ahead as scheduled.
Reports emerged on Monday that India are now against the idea of a hybrid hosting model for the competition.
Pakistan have hosting rights for the Asia Cup, but India have stated they will not tour there.
The Pakistan Cricket Board proposed the idea of India matches being staged elsewhere, potentially in Dubai. It remains to be seen as to how the competition will be arranged.
Defeat against Nepal would extend UAE’s absence from the Asia Cup. The national team last played at the T20 Asia Cup in Bangladesh in 2016, while they have not appeared in the 50-over version since 2008 in Pakistan.
UAE have been regular tourists to Nepal the recent past. This is their third tour to Kathmandu since November, and the sides also faced each other in two matches in Dubai in March.
Back then, the national team’s form was desperate. Nepal have beaten them in five of their past six one-day internationals, which included a 177-run humbling at Tribhuvan University six weeks ago.
Although UAE’s performances have improved markedly in the time since, their batting fallibilities were shown up again by Nepal on a cloudy morning in Kathmandu.
Muhammad Waseem, the UAE captain, hit Sompal Kami’s first ball out of the ground for a huge six, only to fall to the first ball of the Nepal seamer’s second over.
It was the start of a faltering performance from UAE’s top order. Karan KC dismissed Aryan Lakra and Vriitya Aravind, and Lalit Rajbanshi took three for five with his left-arm spin.
Sandeep Lamichhane, who had become the fastest bowler to reach 100 ODI wickets earlier in this competition, took two – yet neither would rank on his personal highlights reel.
First, Rohan Mustafa scooped a slow, looping full toss to Kushal Malla behind square on the leg-side. Later, Aayan Khan found the same fielder on the boundary rope off a rank long hop by the leg-spinner.
After Zahoor Khan became Rajbanshi's third victim, the sides were forced from the field by rain. The showers did not let up for the rest of the afternoon.