Alishan Sharafu

Explainer: Why Nepal were awarded five penalty runs in UAE ODI

Nepal v UAE

By Daniel Beswick

Hit For Six!

After an ICC Men's T20 World Cup where laws and playing conditions were read to the letter, Nepal were the beneficiaries of a newer cricketing curiosity in their home One Day International series with United Arab Emirates.

Perhaps caught in old habits, UAE batter Alishan Sharafu applied saliva to shine the ball during their bowling innings in the second ODI on Wednesday, with the indiscretion spotted by on-field umpires Vinay Jha and Durga Subedi. As a result, Nepal were awarded five penalty runs.

The use of saliva had originally been banned as a Covid measure more than two years ago, with warnings and leniency given as players adjusted to the change. Under the new conditions in place from October 1 however, the act of putting saliva on the ball is now followed up with in-match punishment. Sharafu's mistake is an unwanted first instance of the penalty being enforced since the change was made.

The runs certainly came in handy for the Nepalis, whose well-documented struggles with the bat continued in pursuit of the tourists' 191.

The side lost newcomer Arjun Saud and Aasif Sheikh to be just 13/2 inside five overs, losing caretaker captain Rohit Paudel for 8 and Gyanendra Malla (26) to fall to 54/4. Thankfully, contributions from Kushal Bhurtel (35) and Aarif Sheikh (33*) helped steady the ship, alongside Gulsan Jha's 37 and Sompal Kami's 16*. The hosts squeezed home to beat the T20 World Cup participants by three wickets and with 13 balls to spare.

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Earlier, Nepal's strong bowling unit came to the fore, with Kami spearheading the side with 3/25 from 7.2 overs, claiming the crucial wickets of Rohan Mustafa (4) and Basil Hameed (24) at key moments. Left-arm orthodox spinner Lalit Rajbanshi, back in the Nepal fold for the series after a two-year absence, also claimed three wickets.

The win for Nepal means the three-match ODI series goes to a decider at the Tibhuvan University Ground in Kathmandu on Friday.

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