Two victories away from the historic spot at the Asia Cup, Nepal triumphs over Qatar in their ACC Men's Premier Cup match

Published On: April 27, 2023 07:30 PM NPT By: Sara Pahari

KATHMANDU, April 27:  In a thrilling match at TU Cricket Ground, Kathmandu, Nepal emerged victorious in their ACC Men's Premier Cup encounter against Qatar on Thursday. Despite overcast conditions, Qatar won the toss and chose to bowl first, making good use of the favorable conditions to quickly take two wickets as Kushal Bhurtel and Bhim Sarki were embarrassingly out.

However, the Nepali team rallied through the efforts of Captain Rohit Paudel and Aasif Sheikh, only to experience a batting collapse as they lost a flurry of wickets, ending up at 111 at the loss of nine wickets. Owais Ahmed and Amir Farooq led the charge for Qatar with three and four wickets, respectively.

Yet, the Nepali innings was saved by the remarkable performance of Sandeep Lamichhane, who scored a stunning 42 runs to bring Nepal to a competitive total of 157. Spinner Lamichhane's brilliant all-round performance enabled Nepal to easily beat Qatar by 68 runs in today's match and make it to the semi-finals. With this win, Nepal went undefeated in Group A and reached the semi-finals as group winners.

Chasing the target, Qatar's batters struggled to find their footing and were thwarted by a potent bowling attack from Lalit Rajbanshi, Sompal Kami, and Lamichhane. While Rajbanshi took two wickets and Kami three, Lamichhane stood out with an outstanding five-wicket haul, giving away only 14 runs.

With this win, Nepal finishes at the top of the group, unbeaten in the tournament, and only two victories away from earning a historic spot at the Asia Cup.

Surfing through ACC Premier Cup

Nepal's inconsistent start to the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League 2 was compounded by issues in the dressing room, multiple changes of coaches, and the pandemic disrupting their schedule. However, Monty Desai's appointment as coach in February 2023 spurred the team to win 11 out of 12 matches, including a crucial series against Namibia, Scotland, and the UAE. 

Following Nepal’s outstanding performance in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2, on April 16, Nepal announced a 14-member team for the ACC Premier Cup in Kathmandu. The team led by Rohit Paudel included Kushal Bhurtel, Kushal Malla, Gyanendra Malla, Gulsan Jha, Arif Sheikh, Pratish Jishi, Sompal Kami, Dipendra Singh Airee, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Bhim Sarki, and Lalit Rajbanshi. Arjun Saud, Surya Tamang, Kishore Mahato, and Sandeep Jora were alternate players. The tournament featured 10 associate teams divided into two groups, with Nepal competing in Group A along with Oman, Malaysia, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. 

In the first match of Group A on 18th April, Nepal defeated Malaysia by 6 wickets (with 82 balls remaining). On April 21, Nepal played against Oman and won by 84 runs. However, the match of April 24, where Nepal played against Saudi Arabia, was abandoned without a ball bowled as the match was affected due to bad weather. The match was called off and both teams shared one point each.

Similarly, in the thrilling match   against the UAE on April 27, Nepal dominated Qatar and got one step closer to marking its historic spot in the Asia Cup. 

The hardworking players have not forgotten to credit their coach Monty Desai for Nepal’s outstanding bounce back in cricket. Desai, who was recently awarded as a Nagarik Nayak (citizen hero) for the year 2080, carries the coaching philosophy of ‘happy dressing room’ which has indeed made the entire nation happy.


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