UAE v Nepal: All you need to know about the bilateral cricket series
The two nations will contest three ODIs and three T20s at the ICC Academy in Dubai, starting January 25
The UAE host Nepal for the first time in a full one-day international series, starting in Dubai on Friday.
It is the first bilateral series they have played together since Nepal earned official ODI status last year, but the sides are well acquainted with each other.
All matches will be played at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Admission is free.
Friday, January 25, 1st ODI, 9.30am start
Saturday, January 26, 2nd ODI, 9.30am start
Monday, January 28, 3rd ODI, 9.30am start
Thursday, January 31, 1st T20i, 1pm start
Friday, February 1, 2nd T20i, 1pm start
Sunday, February 3, 2nd T20i, 1pm start
The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) will be hosting a live broadcast of all the matches, available via their social media streams.
The UAE team will be without three of their most influential players. Rohan Mustafa, the former captain, Ahmed Raza and Rameez Shahzad are serving eight-week suspensions for breaching the ECB code of conduct.
The three players posted angry tweets after the team’s exit from the Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Pakistan in December, in which they criticised the organisers, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), and the hosts, Pakistan Cricket Board.
Mohammed Naveed has been handed the captaincy. It marks quite an elevation for a player who had only played street cricket before he first became involved with the UAE team.
For Nepal, Sandeep Lamichhane will be returning to the ground where his extraordinary year started. Nepal were in Dubai for a training camp when the teenaged leg-spinner received the call to say he had been selected for the Delhi Daredevils – now known as the Delhi Capitals - in the Indian Premier League.
Since then, he has played almost everywhere that any notable Twenty20 tournament has been taking place. The most recent stamps in his passport have been Australia and Bangladesh, where he had to cut short his stint playing for Sylhet Sixers to play in this series.
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What to expect
The sides are no strangers to each other, having played against each other regularly in ACC competition, as well as at the World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia last February, then again in preparation for the World Cup Qualifier that followed.
If results are anything to go by, the sides are generally evenly matched. Nepal won the group game at the WCL in Windhoek, UAE then beat them in the final of that competition – only for Nepal to then beat them again in the warm up match in Zimbabwe.
Most recently, UAE won convincingly in the Asia Cup Qualifier in Malaysia in September – not that either side made it through to the main event.
They also shared the ACC Trophy in 2012, after the final was tied in Sharjah.
It would be no surprise if any of the matches end in such a thrilling fashion in the coming weeks: Nepal are specialists in nerve-jangling, last-over finishes.
Updated: January 25, 2019 10:22 AM