Sharad Vesawkar once again managed his composure and attacking streak to enable Nepal take the third position at the ICC World T20 Qualifiers, beating UAE by five wickets at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Vesawkar hammered two consecutive sixes in last over – something that he has become accustomed to now – as Nepal needed 11 runs in the last over, to overhaul the 132 run target set by UAE. The sixes came off Shadeep Silva, who had bowled 3 overs earlier for mere 10 runs. Nepal reached the target with 4 balls to spare. Vesawkar managed 43 off 29 deliveries that included three hits to the fence and three over the fence. Such is Vesawkar’s confidence and dominance that he hit 3 sixes off last 5 deliveries he faced in the match.
This is not the first time Vesawkar excelled in his new role as ‘finisher’ in the game. During the match against Hong Kong, where Nepal’s fixed a place in the World T20, Vesawkar collected 12 runs including the winning run in the last over. Similarly, in the group match against Kenya, where Nepal chased down 183, Vesawakar smashed 23 runs off six deliveries including three sixes and a double in the last over. Nepal required 17 run for victory in the last over and Vesawakar had collected 20 runs off four deliveries.
Earlier in Saturday’s match, Nepal had almost lost its way in the chase after a steady start. At one point half of Nepali team, including captain Paras Khadka (2), Gyanendra Malla (4), were back in the pavilion with score reading 97 in 16.2 overs.
Openers Sagar Pun and Subash Khakurel scored 18 and 38. Anil Mandal remained unbeaten with Vesawkar with run-a-ball 13.
Earlier, UAE put up 131, after being send in to bat. Basanta Regmi was the pick of the bowlers, claiming four wickets to restrict UAE to 131 for 5. Regmi gave away 16 runs in his four over spell, to eventually claim man of the match award. Shakti Gauchan picked one wicket in his three overs conceding 31 runs. Gauchan gave away 18 runs in the 14th over. Avinash Karn conceded 17 runs, Jeetendra Mukhiya 29 runs and skipper Khadka 26 runs during their spells of four overs each.
UAE opener Abdul Shakoor scored the highest 28 runs in his 39-ball knock that included a six and a four. Rohan Mustafa and Shaiman Anwar contributed 24 runs apiece. Mustafa hit two fours in his 19-ball knock and Anwar smashed one six and two boundaries facing 16 deliveries. Swapnil Patil (22) and Mohammad Shafiq (16) remained unbeaten for UAE. Other opener Amjad Javed contributed 14 runs.
Both Nepal and UAE have already qualified for the World T20, to be held next year in Bangladesh.
In the semifinal, Nepal was defeated by Afghanistan and UAE by Ireland.