A columnist on International Cricket Council’s (ICC) website has explained how Nepal benefited from a recent cricketing rule in their home One Day International series with the United Arab Emirates after an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match where laws and playing conditions were read to the letter. “Perhaps caught in old habits,” Daniel Beswick wrote, “UAE batter Alishan Sharafu applied saliva to shine the ball during their bowling innings in the second ODI on Wednesday, with the indiscretion spotted by on-field umpires Vinay Jha and Durga Subedi. As a result, Nepal were awarded five penalty runs.”
The ICC had banned the use of saliva as a Covid measure more than two years ago, with warnings and leniency given as players adjusted to the change. It then became more stringent. Under the new conditions in place from 1 October, the act of putting saliva on the ball would now invite in-match punishment. Sharafu’s mistake is an unwanted first instance of the penalty being enforced since the change was made.
Nepal enjoyed the runs, of course, as they were otherwise struggling with the bat chasing the visitors’ 191.
The UAE lost newcomer Arjun Saud and Aasif Sheikh to be just 13/2 within 5 overs, losing caretaker captain Rohit Paudel for 8 and Gyanendra Malla (26) to fall to 54/4. Thankfully, contributions from Kushal Bhurtel (35) and Aarif Sheikh (33 not out) helped steady the ship, alongside Gulsan Jha’s 37 and Sompal Kami’s 16 not out. Nepal romped home, defeating the T20 World Cup team by three wickets and with 13 balls to spare.
Nepal’s strong bowling had been remarkable, with Kami leading the side with 3/25 from 7.2 overs, claiming the crucial wickets of Rohan Mustafa (4) and Basil Hameed (24) at key moments. Left-arm orthodox spinner Lalit Rajbanshi, back in the Nepal fold for the series after a two-year absence, also claimed three wickets.