KATHMANDU: Home side Nepal thrashed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the reserve day of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Premier Cup final and booked a spot in the upcoming Asia Cup 2023.
Nepal will now take the last slot in the Group A of the continental event, which features arch-rivals India.
Young all-rounder Gulsha Jha starred for Nepal in the historic victory as he first returned with brilliant figures of 1/10 before following it up with a gritty 67-run knock in pursuit of a modest total, made difficult by UAE’s strong spin-bowling attack.
Batting first, UAE could pile up 117 runs despite Asif Khan’s sensible 46 as the rest of their batters failed to contribute significantly.
Lalit Rajbanshi was the pick of the bowlers for Nepal as he returned with astounding figures of 4/14.
The 16th edition of the Asia Cup is scheduled to be hosted in Pakistan in September.
However, the upcoming edition of the event has been in jeopardy briefly after Pakistan was rewarded the hosting rights for the event in October as the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) refused to tour the country on political grounds.
Earlier, a report emerged that the two cricket boards were gradually moving towards a compromise and had nearly agreed to host India’s matches on a neutral venue while the rest of the tournament will be played in Pakistan.
As per the latest development, however, the BCCI has refused the hybrid proposal for both events and once again demanded to shift the Asia Cup entirely from Pakistan.
Following BCCI’s initial refusal to tour Pakistan, the PCB also hinted at not touring India to participate in this year’s World Cup.
Although PCB has not said anything officially on the prospect of using the hybrid model – India playing Asia Cup matches on a neutral venue – for the ODI World Cup but has hinted it will be discussed at the ICC forum.
“This is not to say that the hybrid model will not be advocated at the proper ICC forum at the right time,” the last line of a PCB release said, while denying the hybrid model was discussed in last week’s ICC meeting.
Pakistan will due to suffer an extra expense of half a million dollars to broadcast India’s neutral venue matches in the Asia Cup. But the consequences of Pakistan not playing in India will be greater, both in terms of sponsorship and broadcast expenses.
In that India has to add a Co-host for the event. “Situation is very fluid,” said a top source dealing with the situation. “A final decision will only be made in June and by that time the ICC will adopt a wait and see policy.”