10 moments that defined Nepali cricket in the last decade

Published On: January 1, 2020 10:32 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal


2010: Fate from fans’ farce

Nepal had stayed in Division 5 after finishing third during the ICC World Cricket League held in Jersey. Soon, Nepal defeated the United States in home soil to win the ICC WCLC Division 5 2010 title, held at TU Cricket Ground in Kathmandu in February.

Nepal was behind Singapore on net run rate on the final group match day and the team needed aconvincing win against the USto qualify for the final match, finishing as top two. The US was cruising along with the victory well on sight. However, Nepali fans, who were in big numbers on the ground, started protesting pelting stones and bottles at ground. The match was halted for more than an hour.The target was revised under D/L method. Despite the loss against the US in the match, Nepal ended up edging out Singapore on the basis of net run rate to enter Division 4. Singapore formally protested and Nepal Cricket had to suffer conditional ban.

2013: Valiant Vesawkar

Sharad Vesawkar’s name is forever engraved in the history books for inspiring Nepal to ICC World Twenty20 in 2014 held in Bangladesh.

Vesawkar’s back to back sixes capped Nepal’s fabulous run at the World Twenty20 Qualifier by securing another last-over win to finish third sealing a five-wicket victory over the UAE with four balls to spare. Vesawkar had progressed steadily to 23 from 21 deliveries, but with the asking rate up to 11 an over, he struck three sixes assisted by Anil Mandal's two fours to seal the result. In the subsequent year, Nepal featured in the ICC world event for the first time in its cricketing career. Vesawkar had finished the match on unbeaten 43 runs off 29 deliveries which included three fours and sixes each.

2014: World Stage

Nepal held its own during its maiden participation in the ICC World T20. In a cut-throat qualifying round, Nepal was marginally denied by Bangladesh on net run rate.

Nepal was the best of the three associate teams on display in Group A of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20. It comprehensively beat Hong Kong, held its own with the bat against Bangladesh and pulled off a strong win against Afghanistan, first since 2004 in any format. Nepal's bowlers did not bowl a single wide or no-ball throughout the tournament. Nepal was also the only team to not concede 140 in an innings in the tournament. It felt agonizingly short of qualifying for the next round finishing second on the group table to a net run rate of 0.933 against Bangladesh’s 1.466. Both teams had the same number of wins (2) and loss (1) during the qualifier round.

2014: The Gulmi Express

Nepali cricket fans are often denied by the luxuries of technologies used in cricket. For various reasons, it keeps fans away from obvious details like speed, spin or a distance of six hit by a batsmen. During Nepal’s participation in ICC World T20, things changed. Like all the bowlers, Sompal Kami and his team-mates' bowling speeds were measured in each of the three league matches. Whilst JeetendraMukhiya was in mid-120s, Paras Khadka on early-120s, and Kami himself bowling at mid-130s, during the majority of the league matches. In the final match, he bowled 140.8 km/h in a famous victory against Afghanistan which till date remains the fastest recorded ball bowled by a Nepali pacer. The official ICC website displayed it to be 140.8 Km/h. However, the broadcaster rounds off the bowling speeds due to space constraints and displayed 141 Km/h during its coverage of the match. The speed merchant emerged for Nepal. He became an overnight sensation.

2016: Sensational Lamichhane

Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane first emerged to the scene after securing a take hat-trick in the ICC U19 World Cup held in Bangladesh.In Nepal's second Group 'D' match against Ireland in Fatullah, the 16-year-old got this feat with a treble in the 32nd over of the match that Nepal won comfortably by eight wickets. He dismissed Lorcan Tucker, Adam Dennison and Fiachra Barry Tucker to complete his hat-trick.

Lamichhane become the only second player to take hat-trick in U19 cricket for Nepal after AvinashKarn. Karn had taken the hat-trick against Bahrain during the 2013 ACC U19 Elite Cup. Shakti Gauchan is the only Nepali bowler to take a hat-trick in seniors during the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers against Denmark in the United Arab Emirates.

2018: Miracle-man

Karan KC, known for his bowling, was at the crease with the last man Sandeep Lamichhane. KC single-handedly produced an innings on route to help Nepal win the match which sealed the fate of Nepali cricket. All-rounder Karan KC smashed unbeaten 42 runs off 31 deliveries including three boundaries and four sixes, propelling Nepal to a win by a wicket against Canada in the final group match played at Windhoek, Namibia on Wednesday. KC shared an unbeaten partnership of 51 runs for the last wicket with the last batsman Lamichhane who stayed not out on five runs from 18 deliveries.  With the win against Canada, Nepal sealed its qualification for the ICC World Cup Qualifiers to be held in Zimbabwe in March where Nepal eventually sealed the ODI status.

2018: An ODI nation

Nepal secured the coveted ODI status on March 15, 2018 after beating Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 6 wickets in ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers at Old Hararians Sports Club, Zimbabwe.

Nepal’s match against any of 15 other ODI nations after the conclusion of CWCQ on March 25 were recorded as ODI cricket match. The status will be in place for at least four years until 2022 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers.For the records, Nepal joined India, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Scotland, the UAE, and the Netherlands as ODI nation.

2018: IPL fever

Sandeep Lamichhane had to wait for his debut for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) after the Indian franchise purchased the first ever Nepali player to feature in the overseas premier T20 league. Before every Delhi match, fans in Nepal would anticipate the inclusion of the starlet only to be disappointed by the franchise. The season of struggles for Delhi didn’t make the scenario ideal as well. Eventually, Lamichhanewas given the opportunity and he picked up a total of five wickets in tail-end of Daredevils’ Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign helping his team notch up two wins in the last three matches against the likes of table-toppers Chennai Super Kings and defending champions Mumbai Indians.

Lamichhane saved his best for the last as he registered his first three-wicket-haul, giving away 36 runs from his four overs, against Mumbai Indians to leave reeling on 80/5. The defending champions eventually lost the match by 11 runs.

2019: Maiden wins

Nepal’s national cricket team captain Paras Khadka inscribed his name in history books by scoring 115 runs, first-ever ODI century for Nepal, against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a successful run chase of 255 to secure Nepal’s first-ever One-Day International (ODI) series win. Khadka smashed 15 boundaries and a six as Nepal defeated the host country by four wickets at the ICC Academy in Dubai to register its first series win. 

Khadka also became the first cricket captain of Nepal to secure a series win against an ODI nation. Similarly, he was adjudged the player of the match and the series for his 156 runs and four wickets in three matches. His economy rate of 3.85 runs per over was the lowest among all the bowlers who bowled at least 15 overs in the series. Likewise, he also holds the record for most boundaries in an innings with a total of 16.

It was Nepal’s second ODI series following a draw in the two-match series against the Netherlands in August 2018. At the time, Nepal recorded its first ODI win against the Netherlands in the second match of the series in the last ball of the match.

2019: Khadka centuries

Nepal cricket team captain Paras Khadka became Nepal’s first batsman to score a T20I century as the team registered a nine-wicket victory over host Singapore in the tri-series held in Singapore’s Indian Association Ground.Khadka also became the first skipper to slam a century in T20I cricket while chasing.

The 31-year-old remained unbeaten on 106 from 52 deliveries, which included seven boundaries and nine sixes as Nepal chased down a target of 152 in 16 overs. Khadka took 49 balls to complete the hundred, also making it the fourth-fastest T20I century by an Asian batsman. Khadka’s contribution to the match also makes him the fourth-fast Asian cricketer to score a T20I-hundred.Additionally, Khadka and Aarif Sheikh’s 145-run partnership became the fifth-highest partnership for the second wicket. Sheikh scored a total of unbeaten 39 runs from 38 deliveries.

Earlier, Khadka had recorded Nepal’s first ever ODI century scoring 115 runs against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a successful run chase of 255 to secure Nepal’s first-ever One-Day International (ODI) series win. Khadka smashed 15 boundaries and a six as Nepal defeated the host country by four wickets at the ICC Academy in Dubai.

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