Kathmandu, February 1

Nepal defeated the United Arab Emirates by four wickets to level the Twenty20 International series at 1-1 at the ICC Academy grounds in Dubai today.

Chasing a 108-run target, Nepal reached 111-6 with three balls to spare, thanks to a 55-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Dipendra Singh Airee and Pawan Sarraf. With the victory, Nepal levelled the three-match series 1-1. The final match is slated for Sunday. Nepal had registered a 2-1 victory over the same opponents to record their maiden One Day International series victory on January 28.

Nepal made a disastrous start to their run chase losing skipper Paras Khadka for a golden duck with just one run on the board. Another opener Pradeep Singh Airee also fell cheaply to be 9-2 inside two overs. Vice-captain Gyanendra Malla and Karan KC added 26 runs for the third wicket before the former fell for seven runs in the seventh over. KC, who scored 20 off 23 balls hitting two fours and a six, also departed soon and Nepal were reeling at 39-4.

Soon, it was 46-5 when Sundeep Jora — who became the youngest cricketer to score half century in T20 International in the first match yesterday — departed for one run. Dipendra Singh Airee and Pawan Sarraf — who made his T20I debut from the match — not only revived the innings but also took the team close to victory. Sarraf, who hit two boundaries in his 25-ball 18, was dismissed in the first ball of the last over when Nepal still needed seven runs to win the match.

Sompal Kami joined Dipendra Singh Airee at the crease for the last five balls but the latter his Zahoor Khan for a six and four in two balls to finish the match in style. Dipendra remained unbeaten on 47 off just 44 balls that included four boundaries and a six.

Sultan Ahmed took 2-9 from four overs for the UAE, while Mohammad Naveed, Amir Hayat, Imran Haider and Zahoor Khan claimed one wicket each.

Earlier, Nepal bowled the home for 107 runs in 19.2 overs. The bowling attack led by Abinash Bohara did not allow the UAE batsmen build partnerships by claiming wickets at regular interval.

Sompal Kami struck in the first over claiming opener Ashfaq Ahmed (four), caught by vice-captain Gyanendra Malla, in the sixth ball of the innings. Kami made it 11-2 in the third over when he had Ghulam Shabber (six) caught by wicketkeeper Pradeep Singh Airee.

Chundangapoyil Rizwan and Shaiman Anwar added 24 runs for the third wicket before Lamichhane claimed two wickets in as many balls. Lamichhane had Anwar caught by skipper Paras Khadka in the fifth ball of the sixth over, while the same combination removed Muhammad Usman in the next delivery to reduce the hosts to 35-4.

Rizwan added another 24 runs for the fifth wicket with Mohammad Boota, who was removed by Karan KC in the 11th over. Bohara then claimed three wickets including that of UAE skipper Mohammad Naveed and top scorer Rizwan to put the opponents under pressure at 78-7.

Rizwan top scored for the UAE with 43-ball 44 that included four boundaries and a six, while Anwar (14) and Boota (11) were the other two batsmen who scored in double figures.

Bohara was the pick of the Nepali bowlers taking 3-20 from four overs, while Kami (2-15), KC (2-22) and Lamichhane (2-19) shared six wickets among them.