The quaint nation of snow-capped mountains, Nepal climbed a new peak yesterday as they claimed the One Day International (ODI) status. The brave-heart country will enjoy this notion at the global level till the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers. The miraculous success story of Nepal’s rise to the higher level has warmed hearts of cricket fans all over the world.
The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (WCQ) 2018 is fought for the two coveted spots at the Cricket’s showpiece event, the World Cup 2019 in England. Nevertheless, this tournament also presented the opportunity of gaining the ODI status for four teams. The Netherlands grabbed one spot before the tournament began by virtue of winning the WCL. UAE and Scotland reinforced their status by qualifying for the Super Six stage. This left one spot to fight for.
The race for that one spot was between the three teams that failed to progress to the WCQ Super Six – Nepal, Hong Kong, and Papua New Guinea. The team ending highest of the three in the playoffs would take the last spot in the ODI arena.
Thank you everyone for the support..Just been years and years of toil,persisitance,sacrifices,commitment and hardwork..Finally WE BECOME An ODI nation..
Congratulations to everyone who has been part of Nepal cricket's incredible journey ..
— Paras Khadka (@paras77) March 15, 2018
Playing against Papua New Guinea, Nepal ensured that they performed their best. Their off spin-leg spin combination of Dipendra Singh Airee (4/14) and Sandeep Lamichhane (4/29) together crushed the Guinea team and skittled them for 114 all out.
Nepal’s chase was jittery at the start, the concerns were there when they stood at 13/2 in the third over. But it was destined to be Airee’s day, batting at number four Dipendra Airee scored a brilliant 50 not out that included three sixes and took Nepal past the hurdle.
To the well wishers of Nepal Cricket : Its the “Result” of Years of “Hard Work” ! Years of “Patience” ! Hard work of many “Legends” and here we are now. A big proud day for all the people of Nepal🇳🇵What a beautiful journey so far. Together its Possible. Nepal – An ODI Nation ! pic.twitter.com/Vvbp1go5yq
— Sandeep Lamichhane (@IamSandeep25) March 15, 2018
The win although important was not enough for Nepal to achieve the ODI status. Their fates depended on the chances of Hong Kong chasing Netherland’s total of 175. Nepal’s prayer were at its strongest when the Hong Kong batsmen looked comfortable at 85/3. The scene changed dramatically in just a few overs and Hong Kong collapsed to 130 all out.
The happiest lot by that win of the Netherlands was that of the Nepalese. The biggest moment in the History of Nepal Cricket arrived, they became an ODI nation. Ten years ago, they had started their journey towards this goal in division five. Fighting odds and harsh circumstances, the Gurkha nation finally made it to the top.
The ODI status ensures good funding and new initiatives for the cricket in Nepal. The scarcely populated cricket-crazy country boasts of some exciting talents in the rank. If Nepal continues to put out similar performances, they can very well become the next ‘Afghanistan’ of world cricket.