Eleven wins in twelve games to qualify. That's what faced Nepal across the last three legs of CWC League 2. Remarkably, they got across the line, overcoming the fourth fastest ODI century ever to win in the last of 126 matches in the nearly four year long tournament.
To do so, they faced - at the start of their run chase at least - having to make over 300 for the first time in an ODI after UAE went from 175-5 in the 38th over to 310-6 after Asif Khan launched a sensational assault on the Nepali bowlers, scoring a century in just 41 balls.
Only AB de Villiers, Corey Anderson and Shahid Afridi have scored faster centuries in men's ODIs, and the previous best by an associate player was Kevin O'Brien who reached his century from 50 balls in that famous win against England in the 2011 World Cup.
Nepal lost two wickets in the first two overs and were on 37 when the third wicket fell in the seventh over. The old Nepal would probably have folded for under 200. But under new coach Monty Desai their is much more stability to the Nepali middle order and they kept chipping away. Kushal Bhurtel scored 50 from 35 balls, Bhim Sharki scored 67, Aarif Sheikh 52.
As Gulsan Jha moved towards his 50 from 48 balls, Nepal sneaked ahead on DLS. This would prove crucial, as there was another equation at play - UAE were bowling their overs very slowly. The first 38 overs took an already mammoth 3 hours 20 minutes and the next six took 40 minutes. After the 44th over, the light had faded too much, and the umpires brought the game to a close. Nepal were nine runs ahead of the DLS par score.
UAE weren't happy, with coach Robin Singh visibly remonstrating with the match officials as Nepal went on a lap of honour in front of a beyond sell out crowd, but they only had themselves to blame. Taking four hours to bowl 44 overs simply isn't good enough.
The win saw Nepal creep ahead of Namibia to take a top three finish in the league table, thus securing a direct slot in the Men's World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in June/July. Namibia are hosting the qualifier play-off later this month and that will feature Papua New Guinea, UAE and USA from this tournament, plus Canada and Jersey from the Challenge League.