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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

UAE beat Nepal but 'a lot of improvement to be done' if they are to challenge for titles, says Rohan Mustafa

Seven-wicket win lifts Emirates off the bottom of eight-team ICC World Cricket League Championship

Rohan Mustafa, left, and Ghulam Shabbir run between the wickets on their way to sharing an 81-run stand during the ICC World Cricket League Championship match against Nepal at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. UAE won by seven wickets. Nezar Balout for The National
Rohan Mustafa, left, and Ghulam Shabbir run between the wickets on their way to sharing an 81-run stand during the ICC World Cricket League Championship match against Nepal at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. UAE won by seven wickets. Nezar Balout for The National

Rohan Mustafa and Ghulam Shabbir hit half centuries as UAE beat Nepal by seven wickets on Wednesday in the first of two ICC World Cricket League Championship matches to be played at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Victory moves the UAE off the bottom of the eight-team competition 12 points below leaders the Netherlands, who crushed Namibia by eight wickets in Dubai.

“We did win quite comfortably but there’s a lot of work and lot of improvement to be done if we want to challenge for any titles,” said Mustafa, the UAE captain, who led the run-chase with a rapid 62.

“We conceded too many runs in the last few overs of this game, which we shouldn’t have. These are areas we need to improve. We play Nepal again in the second match on Friday and want to do better than what we did today.”

Mustafa departed after sharing an 81-run stand for the second wicket with Shabbir who carried his side over the line with a well-compiled 81 not out.

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Mustafa’s 71-ball knock contained seven fours and a lofted drive over mid-off for six. Shabbir faced 116 balls, hitting eight boundaries, and also shared a valuable 67-run stand for the third wicket with Rameez Shahzad (37).

Nepal were sent into bat, making 221-6, a healthy score considering they were struggling at 134-4 in the 39th over.

Sharad Vesawkar was the architect of their innings, finishing off with a flurry and a career-best 81 not out from 95 deliveries. He shared two noteworthy partnerships, of 47 in 40 balls for the sixth wicket with Sompal Kami (20) and run-a-ball 40 for an unfinished seventh wicket stand with Basant Regmi (14 not out).

Paceman Amir Hayat was the pick of the UAE bowlers, returning with figures of 8-2-18-0 and left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza 10-0-23-1.

Mustafa and Ashfaq Ahmed got off to a good start until a mix-up ended their opening stand at 42.

The captain opened the scoring with an edged boundary that streaked past second slip in the opening over and Ashfaq hit two fours, the first an on-drive to the mid-wicket and the other through the covers.

The partnership ended when Mustafa pushed one to the cover fielder and was run out as both batsmen ended up at the non-striker’s end.

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