With a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over the United Arab Emirates, Nepal made history by qualifying for the upcoming Asia Cup, thanks to an all-around effort. In doing so, Nepal will be placed in the same ACC division as cricketing powerhouses Pakistan and India.
The team led by Rohit Paudel will claim the final available spot in Group A alongside India and Pakistan for the tournament tentatively scheduled for September. In addition, the top-three finishes of Nepal, UAE, and Oman at the Premier Cup effectively qualify them for the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in July, where they will compete against the ‘A’ Teams of five Full Members in the region.
The two teams were compelled to play the match on the reserve day (May 2), as rain halted play on May 1 at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground in Kirtipur. Asif Khan of the UAE scored 46 off 54 deliveries to lead his team to a meager total of 117 runs.
Lalit Rajbanshi took four wickets, while Sandeep Lamichhane and Karan KC each took two wickets to help finish off the innings. Nepal’s score was reduced to 22/3 in less than eight overs as a result of early strikes from the UAE.
However, it was the 17-year-old Gulsan Jha who played the finest innings of his career, scoring 67 not out with six sixes and three fours at a delicate strike rate of 79.76. He was assisted by Bhim Sharki, whose unbeaten innings of 36 off 72 deliveries powered the team to a decisive victory.
Not only did Nepal win the match by seven wickets, but they also qualified for the upcoming Asia Cup. Due to the ongoing conflict between the BCCI and the PCB, the location of the competition remains uncertain. It remains to be seen whether the cricketing bodies will find a resolution in the coming weeks.