Nepal benefited from a more recent cricketing fascination in their domestic One Day International series with the United Arab Emirates following an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup when rules and playing conditions were strictly adhered to.
On-field umpires Vinay Jha and Durga Subedi saw UAE player Alishan Sharafu using saliva to shine the ball during their bowling innings in the second ODI on Wednesday, maybe out of habit. Nepal was given five penalty runs as a consequence.
UAE: 191/10 (43.2)
Nepal: 193/7 (47.5) pic.twitter.com/8XkLO4RuK6
— CAN (@CricketNep) November 16, 2022
More than two years ago, Covid outlawed the use of saliva as a security measure. As players got used to the new policy, warnings and leniency were offered. However, under the new rules in effect as of October 1, the act of spitting on the ball is now followed by an in-game penalty. Sharafu’s error is the unwelcome first instance of the punishment being applied since the modification.
The runs were undoubtedly helpful for the Nepalis, whose well-known batting difficulties persisted as they chased down the 191 foreigners.
In only five overs, the team lost rookie Arjun Saud and Aasif Sheikh, falling to 13/2. Caretaker captain Rohit Paudel and Gyanendra Malla (26) were also lost, leaving the team at 54/4. Fortunately, contributions from Kushal Bhurtel (35) and Aarif Sheikh (33*), coupled with those from Gulsan Jha (37) and Sompal Kami (16*), helped keep the ship afloat. With 13 balls remaining, the hosts defeated the T20 World Cup competitors by three wickets.
Prior to this, Nepal’s potent bowling unit emerged, with Kami leading the charge with 3/25 from 7.2 overs, taking the vital wickets of Rohan Mustafa (4) and Basil Hameed (24) at important times. Lalit Rajbanshi, a left-arm orthodox spinner who had been away from Nepal for two years, returned for the series and took three wickets as well.
As a result of Nepal’s victory, the three-match ODI series will now be decided on Friday at the Tibhuvan University Ground in Kathmandu.