The Nepal national cricket team ended a winning streak of five one-day internationals with a 68-game losing streak against hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the ICC World Cup League 2 triangle series at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Nepal put on a wretched show with the bat and were sent to bat first for 139 off 31.5 in the chasing hosts UAE, 207-8 in over 50 overs.
Middle batsman Kushal Malla was Nepal’s top scorer as he contributed 60 runs in 53 runs, including nine hits for the fence and six strikes. Aside from his tailback Sandeep Lamichhane (26 for 24 not out) and opener Aasif Sheikh (16 for 17), there were other Nepalese batsmen who touched double figures.
The defeat meant sixth-placed Nepal missed out on a chance to move ahead of the UAE in the seven-team standings. Nepal have 28 points after 30 matches and are 3 points behind UAE. Nepal needs to win four of the remaining six matches to secure a top-five finish, which should keep Nepal ODI status for the next four years.
Nepal beat Papua New Guinea (PNG) by four points in the first match of the series on Monday, while the UAE lost to PNG by 131 runs. Nepal is on a five-game winning streak by beating League 2 champions Scotland and Namibia twice in the last five ODIs in the final match of the Nepal Tri-Series in Kirtipur and PNG from February 14-21.
Nepal and Papua New Guinea will face off in the next series on Friday.
Nepal got off to a shaky start in their chase and lost early wickets 17-3. Opener Kushal Bhurtel was sacked in five games, while former skipper Gyanendra Malla and skipper Rohit Paudel left without an opening score.
Opener Asif Sheikh was the next batsman to be dismissed after Zahur Khan had him caught by Rohan Mustafa for 54-4.
Kushal Malla put up some resistance against Nepal when he batted five, but he couldn’t get support from the other end as Nepal lost wickets in quick succession. He hit the fence nine and six before Rohan Mustafa caught him in a delivery by Karthik Meiyappan.
Aarif Sheikh went out for the ducks, while Dipendra Singh Airee (7), Sompal Kami (4), Gulsan Jha (4) and Karan KC (5) all came away cheaply. No. 10 batsman Lamichhane hit four fences in his unbeaten 24-ball run.
UAE all-rounders Rohan Mustafa and Karthik Meiyappan both took three wickets, while Junaid SIddique took two. Mustafa has given up 31 points in his 10-plus starts, with two first-time turnovers. Meiyappan gave away 26 runs in his 8.5 overs bowling.
The UAE also lost opener Mohammad Wasim in the first over after being bowled by mid-ranger Karan KC. But his opening partners Asif Khan and Rohan Mustafa broke half-centuries, the latter remaining unbeaten.
White Khan opened with a 99 72 before leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane got him caught by Karan KC to make it 139-4. He hit five boundaries and three sixes. Intermediate Mustafa scored 52 for 76, strewn with two boundaries.
Aryan Lakra (28, 36), skipper Chundangapoyil Rizwan (22, 40) and Vritya Aravind (18, 38) were the other major contributors for the UAE.
Leg spinner Lamichhane, Nepal’s bowling choice, took three wickets in his 10-over spells, conceding 27 runs.
Lamichhane, who joined the squad against the UAE after him travel ban lifted According to the Supreme Court ruling on Monday.The 22-year-old was accused of raping a minor and Patan High Court bail January 13th.
Kushal Malla, Karan KC and Aarif Sheikh each share one ticket gate.