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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 February 2019

Paras Khadka proud of Nepal's 'grand performance' on UAE tour

Captain lauds teammates who will take back with them good memories from triumphs in ODI and T20 series in Dubai

When Nepal’s cricketers arrive back in Kathmandu after a triumphant two weeks in Dubai, they will have with them a stash of trophies, Dh10,000 in prize-money to exchange for rupees - “and a lot of good memories”.

The touring side claimed a first-ever one-day international series win when they beat the UAE 2-1 at the ICC Academy last week.

They repeated the trick - in exactly the same fashion, having lost the opening match in both series – as they sealed a 2-1 series win when they won a rain-reduced Twenty20 international on Sunday.

Nepal won a match that was reduced to 10-overs per side because of an early afternoon thunderstorm by 14 runs, after successfully defending 104.

Their defence was underpinned by a world-class display of fielding, and success was cheered to the echo by another packed out crowd, many of whom waited outside as the rain fell.

Paras Khadka, the Nepal captain, said he was proud of his side’s feats in winning both Anib Challenge Series against UAE.

“We have three trophies to take home, and a lot of good memories,” Khadka said. “It has been a fabulous past two weeks, we have played fantastic cricket as a team.

“Both the series, after losing the first game we had to come back, and in a three-match series, one bad day and you could be gone.

“The players put up a grand performance, they really stood up, and the fielding today was unbelievable.

“The way the boys have been shaping up, I am very happy. I hope we can keep up this consistency and the momentum for matches that we have to play.”

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UAE capitulated despite the fact their captain, Mohammed Naveed, sent down a wicket maiden in the first over of the match, and they even started their reply with 20 off Sandeep Lamichhane's opening over.

“Naveed has been one of their main bowlers all throughout this series,” Khadka said of his opposite number.

“He has always done well. Initially our target was between 80 and 90 runs, but we got an extra 14 runs that helped us.

“We kept pushing, kept digging, and it was a fantastic team effort.”

The two sides will meet again in the format at some point this year, when they each take the next step in attempting to qualify for next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, said his side could learn a lot from their opposition, labelling Nepal’s teamwork “amazing”, and saying “they field unbelievably well, at critical moments they don’t get flustered”.

By contrast, the home team faltered under pressure, most vividly when they dropped two boundary catches over the rope for six.

“On reflection, what we have seen over the whole series is we have created the opportunities to win the games,” Brown said.

“In all six matches, we have created opportunities to win. Unfortunately, there have been moments where we just haven’t stuck to what we have trained to do.

“We have lost wickets, not been able to contain, dropped catches, or had misfields at really important times when we have been under pressure.

“We have gone back to default, gone away from our training. It has put us under pressure.

“We have trained under pressure all the way up to this series, to make sure we have done the hard bits before it becomes hard in competition.

“We need to recall that when we under pressure, but throughout this series, when we have been under the pump, we haven’t managed to do that.”

Updated: February 3, 2019 10:50 PM

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