ACC Trophy Elite 2008
UAE v Nepal

by Paul Radley
courtesy of The National, Abu Dhabi

Khurram Khan ensured the usual suspects - UAE and Hong Kong - will again be the two non-Test representatives at the next Asia Cup by carrying his side to six-wicket win over Nepal at the Selangor Turf Club today.

Picture: Peter Lim

The veteran all-rounder has been the UAE's star-turn at the last two editions of the Asia Cup - in Sri Lanka in 2004 and in Pakistan in June. And he cemented their place at the 2010 edition - which could even be played on home soil - as he starred with bat, ball and via some adept leadership in the semi-final win over the plucky Nepalese.

Khurram, who was restored to the captaincy for a third spell before this competition in place of Saqib Ali, returned 3-20 with his left-arm orthodox spin, as Nepal wilted against the UAE's slow-bowlers on a helpful pitch.

Shadeep Silva, the UAE's Sri Lanka-born spinner, continued his good form in Kuala Lumpur with 2-22, including Nepal’s dangerman Sharad Vesawkar (33).

Defeat will have been hard to take for Nepal, who had shown such good form in their group games. Their semi-final hoodoo is starting to become chronic, but their senior side seem closer than ever to matching the successes of their junior teams.

Their innings never caught fire, as Khurram’s side strangled them out for 166 in 47.3 overs on a slow, low-bouncing wicket.

Vesawkar managed two wickets in reply, as the UAE suffered a mid-innings wobble. Nepal may even have caused a shock if Sanjam Regmi had have held a relatively simple chance when Khurram was on 17. But, buoyed by that let-off, Khurram swept his side to victory with an unbeaten 43, while youngster Rameez Shahzad finished the match in style by hoisting the only six of the game.

UAE v Nepal at Selangor Turf Club
Nepal won the toss and chose to bat
Nepal: 166 off 47.3 overs (S. Vesawkar 33, S. Gauchan 35; K. Khan 3-20)
UAE: 172 for 4 off 45.4 overs (Arshad A. 38, Amjad A. 30, K. Khan 42*, R. Shahzad 31*)
Man of the Match: Khurram Khan (UAE)

Filed August 1 2008