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Nepal will compete for third place against Hong Kong on Saturday, with the third-placed team qualifying for the ACC Emerging Cup along with the two finalists.

Sompal Kami of Nepal celebrates the wicket of Muhammad Waseem (c) of United Arab Emirates during the ACC Men's Premier Cup 2024 1st Semi-Final match between Nepal and United Arab Emirates held at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground Oman Cricket (Turf 1), Oman on April 19, 2024. Photo courtesy of Cricket Association of Nepal.

Kathmandu: Nepal’s hopes of securing a second Asia Cup berth were dashed as they suffered a defeat to the United Arab Emirates by six wickets in the semi-final of the ACC Men’s T20 Premier Cup in Al Amerat, Oman, on Friday.

Despite Sundeep Jora’s valiant half-century for Nepal, the defending champions struggled to form significant partnerships and could only manage a modest total of 119-9 in their allotted 20 overs.

Junaid Siddique (2-26) and Ali Naseer (2-28) proved to be formidable obstacles for Nepal, taking crucial wickets early on and triggering a collapse in their batting lineup.

Siddique made the breakthrough with the first delivery of the innings, dismissing opener Kushal Bhurtel for a golden duck.

Aasif Sheikh, Bhurtel’s opening partner, fell for just eight runs after being trapped leg before by Omid Shafi Rahman in the fourth over.

Naseer compounded Nepal’s problems by removing their captain and key player Rohit Paudel for just five runs, leaving the Rhinos struggling at 28-3 after seven overs.

While Jora fought a lone battle for Nepal, he didn’t receive significant support from the other end. Big hitters Kushal Malla (3) and Dipendra Singh Airee (5) also succumbed to the bowling prowess of Basil Hameed (2-4) and Aayan Afzal Khan, respectively.

Jora reached his fifty off 40 balls, including four boundaries and two maximums, before being dismissed by Muhammad Farooq in the 15th over.

Gulsan Jha (20 off 16 balls) and Karan KC (17 off 12 balls) provided some late resistance, helping Nepal scrape past the 100-run mark.

In the chase, UAE lost their captain Muhammad Waseem to Sompal Kami for11 runs in the 1.3 overs.

However, opener Alishan Sharafu played an outstanding innings, guiding UAE to victory with an unbeaten half-century. His knock of 55 runs off 41 balls, comprising four fours and two sixes, steered UAE to avenge their previous losses against Nepal.

Sharafu’s partnership with Vishnu Sukumaran (28 off 28) and contributions from Syed Haider (14 off 15 balls) propelled UAE to a total of 123-4 in 17.2 overs.

UAE will now face Oman in the high-stakes final, with the winner securing a place in the 2025 T20 Asia Cup.

Oman secured their place in the final by defeating Hong Kong by five wickets in the other semi-final match, thanks to an all-round performance from Aqib Ilyas. Ilyas took 3-14 to restrict Hong Kong to 130-9 and then scored an unbeaten 62 off 51 balls to guide Oman to victory.

Nepal will compete for third place against Hong Kong on Saturday, with the third-placed team qualifying for the ACC Emerging Cup along with the two finalists.