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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Asia Cup Qualifier: Chirag Suri and Ahmed Raza win mini-contests as UAE beat Nepal

Batsman Suri nullifies Sandeep Lamichhane's leg-spin to set platform for 78-run win with opening 65, while Paras Khadka is one of Raza's four wickets

In this file photo Chirag Suri is seen in a match against Kuwait in 2018. On Thursday, he opened the innings for UAE in their Asia Cup Qualifier match against Nepal in Malaysia, scoring 65 to help his team to a 78-run win. Pawan Singh / The National
In this file photo Chirag Suri is seen in a match against Kuwait in 2018. On Thursday, he opened the innings for UAE in their Asia Cup Qualifier match against Nepal in Malaysia, scoring 65 to help his team to a 78-run win. Pawan Singh / The National

Ahmed Raza and Chirag Suri each won out in personal duels of differing natures as UAE took a telling win off Nepal in the Asia Cup Qualifier in Malaysia.

The national team are the highest-ranked side in the six-team competition, in which the prize for winning is a place alongside the likes of India and Pakistan in the main event next month.

As the only other side in the event with full one-day international status, Nepal started the tournament as likeliest rivals to the national team for qualification.

Nepal had also beaten the UAE twice already this year, once in the group phase of the World Cricket League (WCL) Division 2 in February, then in a warm-up match for the ensuing World Cup Qualifier.

Some rivalries go back far longer than that, however. Raza, as the longest-serving member of the UAE team, has regularly found himself in opposition to Paras Khadka, Nepal’s great batting talisman.

When they met in Namibia in the WCL, Khadka meted out some severe punishment to Raza’s left-arm spin. In the pool match, he put him into the neighbouring field, then in the final, he dispatched him onto the roof of the indoor school at The Wanderers sports club.

Raza exacted revenge, though, when they met in Malaysia, as he picked up Khadka’s wicket early in the Nepal run-chase, stumped by Abdul Shakoor, on his way to four wickets and the man-of-the-match award.

“We’ve been playing against each other since Under 19s, so he knows my art very well,” Raza, 29, said. “He dominated me in Namibia, but last night I was very clear in my mind that I just have to put the past away, and focus on the ball I am going to deliver.

“Rohan [Mustafa, the captain] had the confidence in me as he brought me on first change. We knew he would attack, which he did and eventually got out.

“It was a big wicket in the context of the game. He is a big player for Nepal. It felt awesome, although I was somewhat relieved.”

Raza’s four wicket-haul undermined Nepal’s pursuit of 255 to win. They fell 78 runs short, condemning them to a second defeat in two days, while the UAE celebrated a second win in a fine start to the competition.

Ahmed Raza took four wickets as the UAE beat Nepal in their Asia Cup Qualifier match. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Ahmed Raza took four wickets as the UAE beat Nepal in their Asia Cup Qualifier match. Chris Whiteoak / The National

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More on Asian Cup 2018 Qualifier:

UAE's Chirag Suri credits coaching experience for scoring match-winning century

Abdul Shakoor excited to make UAE side after years of waiting in wings

UAE's Rahul Bhatia hoping to follow in footsteps of another bespectacled teenager

UAE's incentive to win cup Qualifier is chance to play actual tournament at home

All you need to know about event being staged by Malaysia and players to watch

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UAE’s batting effort was again set up by Chirag Suri, who had scored his first century for the national team a day earlier. He top-scored with 65, and in so doing quelled the threat of Sandeep Lamichhane. Suri and Lamichhane have each experienced Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket – the UAE man with Gujarat Lions last season, and the Nepal spinner with Delhi Daredevils this year.

Lamichhane took 4-24, but Suri was not one of his victims.

“I love playing against good bowlers, and I enjoy a contest,” Suri said. “There was no extra motivation [given the IPL link], but I definitely enjoyed the contest. Every time I picked his googly, we exchanged smiles.”

After Suri’s efforts at the top of the order, Adnan Mufti ensured UAE reached a formidable total, as he hit 57 in 46 balls batting at No 7.

The UAE next face Hong Kong, who registered a first win of the tournament as they beat Singapore by five wickets, on Saturday. Gulf neighbours Oman are the only other side with a 100 per cent record, after they beat hosts Malaysia in the final over.

Fixtures and results:

Wed, Aug 29:

  • Malaysia bt Hong Kong by 3 wickets
  • Oman bt Nepal by 7 wickets
  • UAE bt Singapore by 215 runs

Thu, Aug 30: 

  • UAE bt Nepal by 78 runs
  • Hong Kong bt Singapore by 5 wickets
  • Oman bt Malaysia by 2 wickets

Sat, Sep 1: UAE v Hong Kong; Oman v Singapore; Malaysia v Nepal

Sun, Sep 2: Hong Kong v Oman; Malaysia v UAE; Nepal v Singapore

Tue, Sep 4: Malaysia v Singapore; UAE v Oman; Nepal v Hong Kong

Thu, Sep 6: Final

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