Nepal, has risen from the ashes and dusted off all cobwebs as they booked their place in ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Mar 2018 in Zimbabwe, as they finished on top of the points table in ICC WCL Division 2 in Namibia. let’s have a look when Nepal themselves hosted an ICC WCL event in 2010 and their journey in the past 8 years to finally come within space of 1 step from achieving the ultimate goal, play the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
It dates back to 2010 when Nepal hosted ICC WCL Division 5 tournament and competed alongside Fiji, Jersey Islands, United States, Singapore and Bahrain.
The Nepal squad for the tournament consisted senior players who are still the main linchpins of the current team as well. Paras Khadka was the captain of the side which had the likes of Mehboob Alam, Binod Bhandari, Shakti Gauchan, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Mandal, Basant Regmi & Sharad Vesawkar in the playing XI. Others in the squad included Amrit Bhattarai, Dipendra Chaudhary, Mahesh Chhetri, Binod Das, Sanjam Regmi & Rahul Vishwakarma.
The tournament matches were held at Tribhuvan University Ground in Kirtipur, Engineering Campus Ground in Lalitpur and Birendra Sainik Maha Vidyalaya Ground in Bhaktapur. The matches held at Tribhuvan University Ground were telecasted live on TV for the first time in WCL history. Nepal’s NTV2 and NTV Metro showed the live matches globally.
Nepal won the first match against Jersey Islands by defeating them by 6 wickets. The 2nd match was a close contest as Nepal edged past Singapore by 16 runs margin. The next encounter was an easy one as they beat Bahrain by 8 wickets.
Nepal continued their winning streak as they beat Fiji by 193 runs and hit trendiest roadblock as they lost to USA by 5 wickets in the final group stage match.
Nepal avenged the loss by defeating USA in the final by 5 wickets. Batting first, USA were bowled out for 172 in 47.2 overs with Rahul Vishwakarma picking a record 7/15 for the home side. Nepal reached the target making 175/5 in 46.4 overs with Anil Mandal scoring the highest with 37 runs.
The group match between Nepal and USA was however, marred by controversy as ICC investigated the match for crowd trouble and calculation of net run-rate which denied Singapore promotion to Division 4. USA were given a revised target of 157 off 46 overs as 4 overs were lost for crowd trouble when they were at 150/5 in the 32nd over, needing 163 for victory. However, in the report submitted by ICC later, the decisions made by the umpires were upheld and the outcome of the tournament did not change with Nepal and USA securing qualification for WCL Division 4.
Khadka finished in 3rd place for leading run-scorers with 250 runs. Rahul Vishwakarma and Basant Regmi were joint 3rd in the wicket-taking list with 12 scalps each.