ACC Trophy finalists qualify for a tournament next year featuring in Singapore.
UAE and Nepal to mix with emerging stars of cricket
DUBAI // The UAE have booked their place in a new competition involving the A teams of the four Asian Test nations by reaching Friday's ACC Trophy final in Sharjah.
The national team will face Nepal, who were the runners-up two years ago, at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, with one part of their mission already complete.
The top three sides in the trophy competition – plus Singapore as hosts – will enter a 50-over competition scheduled for summer 2013, with the emerging players from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh also set to play.
The ACC Trophy used to carry with it the incentive of a place for the two finalists in the Asia Cup against the full sides from Asia's Test playing elite. A variety of players, such as Khurram Khan, Arshad Ali and Saqib Ali, remain from the national team which last played at the 2008 Asia Cup in Pakistan.
However, the emerging nations have since been squeezed out of that competition because of television scheduling. The new competition will still provide a major boost for the likes of the UAE and Nepal, according to Sultan Rana, the Asian Cricket Council's events and operations manager.
"When these players get the chance to play against better players from Test-playing countries they learn a lot," Rana said.
"It is very positive to have this event and we are very grateful to the Test countries that they are offering their services to play against these developing sides."
Nepal can expect some strong backing from their expatriate supporters on Friday having advanced through their semi-final against Malaysia with a 21-run victory.
Paras Khadka, their captain, has been the epitome of reliability during this competition and he was at it again in their meeting with the Malaysians. The all-rounder followed up his match-winning half-century in the last group match a day earlier with a decisive 89 to set up the win today.
Afghanistan can salve their disappointment at giving up their title by claiming the other spot in the new tournament if they beat Malaysia in the third-place play-off at the Global Cricket Academy in Dubai.
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