Aarif Sheikh continued to impress with yet another positive batting as Nepal bid adieu to their ACC U-19 Asia Cup campaign with a comprehensive four-wicket victory over United Arab Emirates at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
After spinners took control of the match picking up six wickets, man-of-the-match Arif smashed 48 runs and Siddhant Raj Lohani bludgeoned with a 12-ball 19 to take Nepal to 162-6 in 33 overs in reply to UAE’s 159 all out in 42.2 overs.
Nepal avenged their 76-run loss against UAE in their ACC U-19 Elite Cup match against the same opponent in Malaysia earlier this year. It was also a loss that deprived Nepalof qualifying for the 2014 U-19 World Cup.
Bhuwan was happy to underline their strength. “They were no strong when we lost against them in Malaysia. We lost that match due to our own mistakes, we are happy to send them back to the reality,” Bhuwan told cricketingnepal.com in Sharjah on Tuesday.
“The game went for us according to plan. We wanted to bundle them out for a low total and finish the game dominating with the bat,” said Bhuwan. “We did well in the fielding department today. Though we had a bad start in the chase, Arif and Siddhant took us across the finishing line. It was good to sign off with a victory.”
Nepal lost openers Amit Shrestha (naught) and Bibhatsu Thapa (nine). Prakash Bista played with a positive mind frame in his first match of the tournament before losing his wicket for 22 off 30 with two boundaries. Raju Rijal and Aarif shared a 41-run stand for the fourth wicket. Raju made 27 off 48 with four boundaries.
After Raju’s departure, Aarif shared another 40 runs for the fifth wicket with Bhuwan (12) as victory neared. Arif continued to impress before he left the crease two short of half century trapped leg before by Moaaz Qazi. Aarif made 48 off 57 balls with four fours and two sixes.
Siddhant Lohani finished off the chase smashing 19 from 12 balls with four boundaries along with Rahul Pratap Singh (seven). Pankaj Prakash took three wickets for the hosts. Earlier, Nepal reduced UAE to 43-3 in 12 overs.
Daniel D’Souza and Shorye Chopra (13) tried to rebuild the innings until Bhuwan trapped the latter leg before. D’Souza added another 53 runs with Zamin Jaleel until Sushan Bhari dismissed the latter.
Jaleel played with aggression hitting Sushan and Bhuwan for a six each before departing for 31 off 36. Bhuwan bowled D’Souza for 31 as Nepal gained an upper hand in the match. Sushan virtually ended UAE innings picking up three more wickets before Lalit. Sushan finished with the figures of 4-34 from nine overs and Lalit returned with 3-43 from 8.2.