The first of five regional qualifiers for next year's men's Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka took place in Ajman, UAE this past week with Nepal coming out on top to qualify for the first time since 2016.
Six teams took part in the tournament with the other teams being hosts UAE, Kuwait, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, the latter two having been promoted from last year's Division Two event.
Nepal and the home side proceded through their first four games of the round-robin tournament with little resistance offered by the other teams and met on the final day of play on Thursday in a winner-take-all contest.
UAE captain Aayan Afzal Khan won the toss and asked Nepal to bat first. The visitors lost their first three wickets for 19 runs before an 84 run partnership between skipper Dev Khanal and Uttam Rangu Thapar Magar got the innings back on track.
Magar fell for 36 to end that partnership whilst Khanal reached 51 before he was the fifth man out. Bishal Bikram Kc scored 38 as Nepal were bowled out for 191. Dhruv Parashar was the pick of the bowlers for the home side with 3-18.
Ethan D'Souza top scored for the UAE in their reply with 50 after openers Aryan Saxena and Aryansh Sharma scored 34 and 32 respectively. Dipesh Kandel starred with the ball for Nepal though, taking 5-31 and finishing off the innings with a hat-trick to help bowl the hosts out for 184 and win by 7 runs.
Nepal will be celebrating their return to the Under-19 World Cup whilst the UAE can feel more than a little aggrieved that they miss out after finishing ninth - ahead of three full members who all got automatic qualification - in the 2022 event.