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April 22, 2024
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Asian Cricket Council Premier Cup begins in Nepal, with 10 of the region’s top emerging teams in 50-over action

Hosts Nepal will be looking to carry on their form from earlier this year, where they snatched third place and an automatic spot at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

The Premier Cup includes three teams, Nepal, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, that will also be preparing for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier, scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe from June 18th.

Kathmandu: The Asian Cricket Council Premier Cup is set to commence in Nepal, featuring 10 of the region’s top emerging teams in 50-over action. The tournament will serve as the final qualification step for the Asia Cup 2023, with the winning team advancing to the tournament to join India and Pakistan in group play.

The 10 teams have been split into two groups, and will compete in Kathmandu for a spot in the semi-finals, followed by a final match that will determine the last remaining qualification spot at the Asia Cup 2023. The tournament begins on April 18th.

The Premier Cup includes three teams, Nepal, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, that will also be preparing for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier, scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe from June 18th.

Hosts Nepal will be looking to carry on the form that saw them race up the League 2 table earlier this year to snatch third place and an automatic spot at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier. The United Arab Emirates, who were defeated by Nepal in a last-gasp DLS victory to complete their fairy tale run, will feature on the other side of the draw, competing against Oman in group play.

Oman finished second in the League 2 standings and may be a little rusty, having not played an ODI since June. However, the team is well-set as a unit and will be boosted by the return of high-class batting all-rounder Aqib Ilyas after a long lay-off with a foot injury.

UAE rediscovered their winning formula in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off in Namibia, galvanized by the late-order hitting of ICC Player of the Month nominee Asif Khan, and are favorites in Group B.

According to ICC press release, Joining Oman and Nepal in Group A are QatarMalaysia and Saudi Arabia, with recent results suggesting the Qataris may be best-placed to challenge the top two.

Mohammed Rizlan’s Qatar outfit finished third in their Cricket World Cup Challenge League group, while Malaysia were not as successful in the third-tier of international one-day competition, finishing fifth in the same group.

Saudi Arabia qualified for the Premier Cup through Challenge Cup qualification to show they are on an upward arc in terms of international standing, though drubbings of Bahrain and other teams in qualification suggest the men in green could scare more well-renowned teams.

Asif Khan’s stunning century| Nepal v UAE | ICC CWC League 2

UAE will be challenged by a resurgent Hong Kong in Group B, a side who look strong on the batting side and with a knack of performing in ACC events.

Left-hander Anshy Rath looks in form after his return to the national team now led by Nizakat Khan, with Babar Hayat able to hold things together and up the run rate if required.

Nizakat’s side were too good for Kuwait in a recent series in Hong Kong, a side who have beaten group rivals Singapore and UAE in the T20I format.

Kuwait beat Bahrain in warm-up action, albeit by one wicket, and should challenge a depleted Singapore for at least third place in their group. Led now by Aritra Dutta, Singapore are not only now without T20 maverick Tim David (who now represents Australia), but also missing Amjad Mahboob and Aryaman Sunil.

The matches between teams with ODI status will be considered as full One Day Internationals, with the Tribhuvan University ground and the Mulpani ground both hosting matches in the Nepal capital.

The finalists and the winner of the third-placed play-off will also qualify for the 2023 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, an eight-team tournament that will include ‘A’ teams from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

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