The United Arab Emirates (UAE) bowed out of contention for a direct entry into the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier with a 42-run defeat to Nepal in the ICC Mens Cricket World Cup 2023 League 2.
Nepal skipper Rohit Paudel won the toss in Dubai and elected to bat first. The side seemed to be in dire straits at 68/5 before Bhim Sharki's 70 led the way for Nepal to 229/8.
For UAE, Junaid Siddique (3-53), Aryan Lakra (2-30) and Rohan Mustafa (2-43) were among the wickets. In response, UAE lost their captain Muhammad Waseem for a duck in the very first over.
Though opener Asif Khan (82) and Aryan Lakra (50) gave the side a solid platform, other batters weren't able to capitalise on it. Sompal Kami (3-26) and Dipendra Singh Airee (3-18) were the pick of Nepal bowlers.
This was Nepal's first win over UAE in the CWC 2023 League 2. They had lost each of their previous three encounters against the side, according to a report on the ICC website.
The scenario for both teams was straightforward: they needed to win all their remaining games to qualify. The successful side would overtake Namibia, who are presently placed third with 39 points out of their 36 matches.
However, a win for Nepal means that only they can now vie for a direct spot in the Qualifier. Even if UAE win all their remaining games, their best tally would be 39 points, which sees them tied with Namibia.
But since tie-breakers are decided on the total number of wins in the league, this wouldn't be good enough to see the side into the top three of the League 2 table.
However, all is not lost for UAE. They will have to go through the Qualifier play-off which will see the bottom four sides of League 2 pitted against the top two Challenge League teams - Canada and Jersey -- to reach the Qualifier.
Nepal 229/8 in 50 overs (Bhim Sharki 70, Md Arif Sheikh 43 not out, Kushal Malla 32; Junaid Siddique 3-53, Aryan Lakra 2-30, Rohan Mustafa 2-43) beat UAE 187 all out in 45 overs (Asif Khan 82, Aryan Lakra 50; Dipendra Singh Airee 3-18, Sompal Kami 3-26) by 42 runs.