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Kathmandu, May 2 – Nepal secured the Asia Cup 2023 spot after beating UAE by seven wickets in the ACC Premier Cup final here at Tribhuvan University ground on Tuesday.
After a win over UAE, Nepal will take the last spot in Group A, alongside India and Pakistan, with the Asia Cup slated to take place in September.
The top three finishes of Nepal, UAE, and Oman at the Premier Cup mean they will also feature in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in July, where they will take on ‘A’ Teams of five Full Members in the region.
Batting first, UAE managed to post 117 on the board. Asif Khan was the top scorer for the side with his 46 off 54 balls including seven boundaries and a maximum.
For Nepal, Lalit Rajbanshi was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures 4/14 in. Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane claimed 2/34 at the other end, moving to a 33-ODI match streak of wicket-taking outings.
In reply, Gulshan Jha’s promotion to No.3 in the batting order proved a masterstroke. He first to negotiate Aayan Khan’s left-arm orthodox, before countering with an array of shots.
The 17-year-old made an unbeaten 67 and stitched a 96-run partnership with Bhim Sharki (36) and helped his side to chase down the target in 30 overs, ensuring Nepal’s qualification for the Asia Cup 2023.
For UAE, Rohan Mustafa was the most economical bowler with figures of 2/13.
There is uncertainty regarding the Asia Cup as India has previously expressed their reluctance to participate in matches held in Pakistan, which is the designated host nation.