Paras Khadka played a captain’s innings to set up Nepal’s first ever one-day international series win.
The all-rounder scored 115 as Nepal beat UAE by four wickets, to complete a 2-1 series win over the national team at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
It was the first ODI century for Nepal, who achieved that status last March, and it was fitting that it should fall to the captain who has done so much to bring cricket in his country to this point.
The UAE’s bowlers were well aware of Khadka’s merits. He played a match-winning innings against them in the World Cricket League group stage last February, then made a century in a losing cause when UAE won the final of that tournament.
They believed they might have found a weakness when they bounced him out in the opening match of the series, which UAE won by three wickets on Friday.
After Nepal bounced back with a 145-run thrashing a day later, they set up a series decider on Monday, and were good value for their win.
The home batsmen struggled after being invited to bat first at 9.30am, with dew on the grass, and Sompal Kami and Karan KC, Nepal’s new-ball attack, were unrelenting.
There were 16 dot balls before Ashfaq Ahmed fell for a duck. When his opening partner, Chirag Suri, went the same way, having failed to score off the 17 balls he faced, the UAE were mired on two for two off six overs.
To their credit, the UAE fought doggedly despite the pressure exerted by Nepal’s bowlers, who had their hosts 47 for four in the 21st over.
CP Rizwan, playing just his second match for the national team, shared a stand worth exactly 100 with Shaiman Anwar, before falling five runs short of a maiden ODI 50.
Shaiman carried on, eventually reaching 87, and was joined in another worthy stand by Mohammed Boota, who played his finest innings for the UAE to date, with 59 in 31 balls.
Between him and Mohammed Naveed, 23 were scored off the final over of the UAE innings, leaving Nepal with a target of 255 to chase.
There was a time when such a target would have been beyond an underachieving Nepal batting line up, but they attacked the task confidently.
Gyanendra Malla, the vice-captain, shared an alliance worth 61 with Khadka for the third wicket. Although his contribution of 31 was the highest other than Khadka’s effort, the away side hardly looked troubled in reaching their target with 5.2 overs to spare.