Under-prepared UAE get reality check with Nepal loss in ACC Premier League
The UAE made a disappointing start to the defence of their title when they lost by four wickets to Nepal in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Premier League in Malaysia on Thursday.
In their opener, the UAE were shot out for 191 at the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur and Nepal took less than 40 overs to reach the total.
The UAE and Nepal are joint holders of this championship, having tied in the final when the tournament – previously call the ACC Trophy – was first staged in the Emirates in 2012.
However, the opening defeat comes as a disappointment for the UAE, who are preparing for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
They travelled to Malaysia slightly under-prepared, since their training at the ICC Global Cricket Academy was interrupted when the facilities were used by Indian Premier League teams.
On Friday, they meet Afghanistan, who got their campaign off to a winning start over Hong Kong on Thursday. The matches between Hong Kong, UAE and Afghanistan hold one-day international status.
Afghanistan are the pre-tournament favourites, but they are yet to beat the UAE in a 50-overs-a-side game. It is the first time they will meet in an ODI.
Nepal, electing to field first, made early inroads to send the UAE’s top three batsmen, Amjad Ali (7), Salman Faris (16) and Khurram Khan (0), back to the pavilion.
Mahaboob Alam provided the early breakthrough by dismissing opener Amjad in the fourth over and the 18-year-old Sompal Kami had Khurram trapped in front in the next over to leave the UAE tottering at 15 for two.
Faris fell with the score on 37, but Swapnil Patil, who top-scored with 76, shared a 72-run partnership for the fifth wicket with debutant Krishnachandran Karate (36 off 69) to rebuild the innings.
Patil’s 95-ball knock, which was highlighted by eight fours and a couple of sixes, ended when he was run out with the score at 153, and Karate fell to the left-arm spinner Shakti Gauchan at 185.
Alam and Kami then returned for their second spell to take two wickets apiece to mop up the tail for the addition of just six runs.
Mohammed Naveed provided a glimmer of hope for the UAE by removing opener Naresh Budayair (2) in his second over, but that was all the early success they had.
Subash Khakurel stroked 71 and featured in a two valuable partnerships to set the run-chase on track.
The wicketkeeper-batsman hit 71 off 91 balls and put on 66 off 58 deliveries with Gyanendra Malla (47 off 37) for the second wicket and added a run-a-ball 59 with his captain Paras Khadka (30 off 40) for the third wicket.
In the other games, Afghanistan’s debutant opener Usman Ghani smashed 70 off 68 balls to lead his side to a resounding six-wicket win over Hong Kong, while Oman got the better of the host Malaysia by 74 runs.
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Published: May 1, 2014 04:00 AM