Adnan Mufti’s maiden century coupled with a disciplined bowling performance helped United Arab Emirates record a 63-run victory over Nepal in its ICC World Cricket League Championship match at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday (December 8).
Chasing 196 for a win, Nepal was all out for 132 in 42.2 overs after the UAE bowlers chipped away at the wickets at regular intervals.
Put into bat, the hosts did not have the greatest of starts after Sompal Kami, the right-arm seamer, snuffed out the top order to leave UAE reeling at 24 for 4. Kami dismissed Rohan Mustafa (8), Dilip Nath (4), Ghulam Shabber (0) and Rameez Shahzad (3) within the first 14 overs.
Paras Khadka, the medium pacer, then scalped Muhammad Usman (5) as UAE was staring down the barrel with the scorecard reading 39 for 5.
But it was Mufti who changed the course of the game slamming his way to an 89-ball 104. Not just did he score more than 50 percent of the runs for UAE, his crucial 80-run partnership with Mohammad Boota (37 off 73 balls) ensured that his side would end with a modest total on board.
Boota bid his time and seemed content to play second fiddle to Mufti, before being cleaned up by Sagar Pun, the offspinner. Mufti, on the other hand, slammed eight boundaries and three sixes before falling to Kami.
Sandeep Lamichhane, the legspinner, and Lalit Bhandari, the left-arm medium pacer, then prised out the tail as UAE finished with 195 from 49. 2 overs.
Nepal’s bowling scorecard was impressive with Kami leading the pack with a five-wicket haul and also effecting a run out. He finished with figures of 5 for 27 from his ten overs while Pun, Bhandari and Lamichhane finished with a wicket apiece.
In the chase, opener Gyanendra Malla (42 off 90 balls) top-scored for Nepal but no batsman could convert starts into substantial knocks.
Amjad Javed, the medium pacer, set the tone by dismissing Dilip Nath (0), the other opener, and Sharad Vesawkar (13) early.
Sagar Pun (21) and Binod Bhadari (25) got off to starts but were unable to convert them to big scores and take their team across the line. When Malla became the fifth wicket to fall, castled by legspinner Imran Haider, with only 91 runs on board in the 31st over, Nepal’s hopes crashed.
Mohammad Naveed, the medium pacer, and Rohan Mustafa, the offspinner, skittled out the tail who hardly offered any resistance.