Asia Cup 2023

Top contenders display dominance in Asia Cup 2023 qualifiers

The Asian Cricket Council Premier Cup, the 50-over competition that will decide the final qualifier for Asia Cup 2023, got underway with Nepal, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong enjoying victories on the first day. The top contenders displayed dominance as they began their journey towards the Asia Cup.


In the match between UAE and Kuwait, a colossal partnership between Vriitya Aravind and Rohan Mustafa powered UAE to a resounding victory. Both players raised their bats for centuries as they put on 275 in just 42 overs after being stuck at 24/3. Aravind carried on after losing his partner and helped the side post an impressive 371/6. Asif Khan also played a vital role in UAE’s victory by hitting 30* off just nine deliveries. Although Kuwait failed to pose a serious challenge to the UAE’s formidable total, there were a couple of noteworthy performances, including swift half-centuries by Parvinder Kumar and Sayed Monib.


In the match between Oman and Qatar, Qatar mounted a decent challenge in pursuit of Oman’s 249/8, but no player could capitalize on a start with bat in hand, eventually falling for 209. Oman kept things tight and Bilal Khan claimed Kamran Khan early, finishing with 4/42 (8.2) to finish proceedings off.


Nepal continued to display their impressive batting prowess as they easily chased down a target of 236 against Malaysia. Although Aasif Sheikh’s early dismissal for just one run was a setback, Bhim Sharki’s mature innings of 71 runs from 91 deliveries helped stabilize the innings. It’s worth noting that the 21-year-old has been in excellent form lately, scoring 281 runs in his last five ODI innings at an impressive average of 56.2. Skipper Rohit Paudel also contributed to the chase, scoring 42 runs off 43 balls, while keeping the scoreboard ticking along with Sharki. However, it was Kushal Malla’s unbeaten 70 runs off just 40 deliveries that propelled the hosts to victory and earned him the Player of the Match award. Meanwhile, Sompal Kami was the standout bowler for Nepal, finishing with figures of 3/40 earlier in the day.


Hong Kong’s formidable spin-bowling attack proved too much for Singapore as they secured a convincing victory. Ehsan Khan was the standout performer with his crafty off-spin, finishing with impressive figures of 4/24. Meanwhile, Yasim Murtaza’s left-arm orthodox lines proved to be a tricky challenge for Singapore’s batsmen, as he varied his pace effectively to take three wickets for just 25 runs. Leg-spinner Mohamad Ghazanfar also got in on the action, claiming the final wicket and finishing with 1/39. In the chase, Hong Kong’s batsmen made light work of the target, largely thanks to a sensational century by Babar Hayat. The explosive batsman smashed an unbeaten 108 runs from just 94 deliveries to steer his team to a comfortable victory.


It was an exciting start to the tournament, with the top contenders displaying their dominance. UAE, Oman, Nepal, and Hong Kong are the favorites to win the tournament and secure their place in the Asia Cup. UAE showed their batting prowess with a massive partnership between Vriitya Aravind and Rohan Mustafa, while Oman’s Bilal Khan claimed four wickets to finish off Qatar’s innings. Nepal’s good form with the bat continued, with Bhim Sharki and Kushal Malla playing match-winning innings.


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