Friday, May 24

Kushal’s All-Round Performance Helps Nepal Register Consolation Win

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu – Nepal bounced back from consecutive defeats to Pakistan A and India A by securing a consolation victory over UAE A in their final group stage match of the ongoing ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, thanks to an all-around performance by Kushal Bhurtel.

Winning the toss and opting to bat first, UAE struggled to find their footing against Nepal’s bowling attack and were eventually bowled out for 157 runs in 44 overs at P Sara Oval in Sri Lanka.

Opener Lovepreet Bajwa top-scored for UAE with a solid knock of 52 runs off 82 balls, which included 6 boundaries and 1 maximum. Ethan Carl D’Souza contributed 18 runs, while Ashwanth Valthapa scored 16, Aryansh Sharma added 14, and Jash Giyanani chipped in with 13.

However, UAE’s batting lineup failed to build substantial partnerships, and none of the other batters managed to reach double figures. Ansh Tandon (3), Fahad Nawaz (4), Ali Naseer (1), Muhammad Farazuddin (4), Nilansh Keswani (9), and Muhammad Jawad Ullah (18) struggled against Nepal’s disciplined bowling attack.

The star of the match for Nepal Kushal Bhurtel displayed an outstanding all-round performance, who not only shone with the bat but also impressed with his leg-spin bowling. He claimed a remarkable 6-wicket haul, conceding just 40 runs in his allotted 10 overs. Alongside him, Mousom Dhakal took 2 wickets, while Kushal Malla and Pawan Sharraf grabbed one wicket each.

In response, Nepal chased down the winning target of 158 runs in just 23 overs with 3 wickets to spare. Opener Arjun Saud departed for a royal duck out. Still, Kushal Bhurtel showcased his brilliance yet again, playing a stunning knock of 71 runs off just 43 deliveries, which included 9 fours and 4 sixes.

Contributions from no. 3 and no. 4 batsmen Dev Khanal and Sundeep Jora, who added 24 runs each to the tally, helped Nepal’s cause. However, skipper Rohit Paudel fell for 9, and Pawan Sharraf was dismissed for a duck. Gulsan Jha contributed 11 runs before getting out, but Kushal Malla and Pratish GC held their nerves and remained unbeaten on 2 and 8 runs, respectively, guiding Nepal to victory.

Despite Muhammad Farazuddin’s impressive 5-wicket haul for UAE, Nepal’s strong batting display saw them through. Muhammad Jawad Ullah booked 2 wickets, but UAE’s bowling effort fell short.

Nepal’s victory allowed them to finish third in Group B, while UAE ended their campaign remaining at the bottom, losing all of their matches. India A and Pakistan A emerged as the top two teams from the group, qualifying for the semifinals of the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup.

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