IANS

Nepal pipped Namibia to make it to the third spot of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League 2 after they beat UAE by nine runs (by DLS method) at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground here on Thursday.

Nepal overcame UAE by nine runs in a thriller to book their berth for the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. At this event, they will compete with 10 sides for a place in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.

The Rhinos needed 42 runs from 36 balls in the game when the umpires decided that the play couldn't continue due to bad light. At the time, Nepal were nine runs ahead of the DLS score and took all two points to pip Namibia (39 points) by a solitary point, according to a report on the ICC website.

Chasing a target of 311, Nepal made a horrendous start as they lost Aasif Sheikh (0) and Kushal Malla (5) within the first nine balls. Skipper Rohit Paudel tried to bring a semblance of the order along with Kushal Bhurtel, but fell in the seventh over to Aayan Khan. At 37/3, the game seemed to be slipping away from Nepal's grasp.

However, Bhim Sarki (67) joined hands with Bhurtel (50) and then Aarif Sheikh (52) to lead Nepal's fightback in the middle overs. A charge from 17-year-old Gulsan Jha (50*) in the later overs ensured that Nepal were ahead of the required DLS score when umpires decided to take the players off the field.

Earlier in the day, Muhammad Waseem won the toss for UAE and elected to bat, heaping pressure on the hosts by putting a target on the board. The opener then let his batting do the talking, silencing the heaving Tribhuvan University Ground crowd with a range of boundaries.

At the other end, Lalit Rajbanshi turned the volume back up, making a mess of Aryan Lakra's stumps for just six.

Vriitya Aravind accompanied Waseem, though the latter was eventually brought undone lbw by Sandeep Lamichhane, the leg-spinner's 99th ODI wicket. The wicket turned proceedings back in the hosts' favour, and a calamitous piece of running from CP Rizwan (7) ended in an easy run out to help turn the screws.

Aravind continued UAE's charge almost singlehandedly, bringing up fifty with a guide behind the point of Sompal Kami. The youngster helped UAE to the 200 mark, setting the platform for a late blitz from his teammates.

With Aravind holding one end, Asif Khan joined the party and took on the Nepal bowlers. The right-hander spared no one, even hitting four back-to-back sixes off Lamichhane in one over. He hit as many as 11 sixes in his outstanding knock of 101* off just 42 balls - the fourth-fastest century in men's ODIs.

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