Nepal, UAE share ACC Elite title after thrilling tie
United Arab Emirates 241 for 6 (Saqib 101*, Khurram 61, Gauchan 3-36) tied with Nepal 241 for 9 (Khakurel 55, Mandal 44)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
After a thrilling tied final in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates and Nepal shared the Asian Cricket Council Elite Trophy. Saqib Ali led UAE's recovery from 24 for 3 to help them post 241, a target that looked in Nepal's sight after their 94-run opening stand. However, they kept losing wickets consistently, and eventually needed 12 off the last over with just two wickets in hand. Shakti Gauchan, who had taken three wickets earlier, smacked Shadeep Silva's left-arm for a six, but could manage only one run off the last ball.
UAE's innings was the opposite of Nepal's. They got off to a horrible start, and were 70 for 4 after 19.5 overs. That brought together captain Khurram Khan and Saqib, who have both played ODIs for UAE. They added 87 for the fifth wicket, but the big push arrived only in the last four overs that went for 46 runs. Saqib was only 88 going into the last over of the innings, but hit Basanta Regmi for a six and a four off the last two balls to bring up his century.
UAE carried the momentum into the second innings, but Subash Khakurel and Anil Mandal got Nepal's chase off to a solid start. However, they lost their way in the middle of the innings, going from 165 for 2 to 222 for 8. Sharad Vesawkar, who came in at 165 for 4, held the chase together with wickets falling all around him. He even managed his unbeaten 38 at better than a run a ball.
However, when a splendid piece of fielding from Saqib ran Binod Bhandari out, Nepal still needed 20 off 17, and had just two wickets in hand. Gauchan practically blocked out the 48th over, and they now needed 18 off the last two. Khurram went with his quick man, Arshad Ali, for the 19th over, and conceded just six runs. That increased the pressure, but Nepal also had slight opportunity: a spinner was to bowl the last over.
Gauchan played out another dot before two singles brought it down to 10 off 3. He then swung hard at Silva, and managed to clear long-on. Silva erred again next ball by fumbling on a run-out opportunity, allowing the batsmen to steal a couple after hitting straight to long-on. Another such mistake, and the title would be Nepal's. Gauchan this time hit to long-off; UAE made no mistake, and honours were even after a hard-fought match.