Rain first threatened to wash out the deciding T20 match of the three-match series between UAE and Nepal at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Sunday before setting up a thrilling 10-overs-a-side clash which was won by Nepal by 14 runs.
The hosts won the toss and asked Nepal to bat first and it was only UAE captain Mohammad Naveed (2-6) and Amir Hayat (2-16) who exercised some control in their quota of two overs as Nepal – powered by captain Paras Khadka’s 29 – crossed the 100-run mark to finish on 104-8.
That total could have been a lot lower if the UAE had shown better judgment while catching with two chances offered by Khadka and Sundeep Jora in the sixth and seventh over grassed at the boundary ropes. What’s worse, both chances went for six runs.
When it was their turn to bowl, Nepal showed UAE the value of water-tight fielding in short formats as outstanding catching at the long-off boundary by Gyanendra Malla and desperate fielding in the deep in general allowed Nepal to recover from a poor first over from Sandeep Lamichhane – which went for 20 runs – to tighten the noose and emerge victorious by 14 runs.
With the result, Nepal took the T20 series 2-1 to go with the ODI series that they won by a similar margin.
Nepal captain Khadka said the win was down all down the fielding of the team.
“The fielding was outstanding. The kind of catches we took was brilliant. Malla was outstanding. The second last ball of the penultimate over, the catch he took… if that had gone for four, the game could have gone either way. Today, the fielding was the deciding factor,” Khadka said.
UAE coach Dougie Brown was unhappy that despite practising for these very close situations, the players lost their focus and forgot what was told to them.
“We were batting so well, playing shots straight down the ground. There was no need to play across. We needed 33 from the last three overs. Under pressure, the players went back to their old self and somehow forgot what has been told to them,” Brown said.
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