2013: Nepal qualify for ICC World Twenty20, the international championship of Twenty20 cricket
By NLRC Staff, November 2013Contents
In an extraordinary achievement for Nepal in its sporting history, the Nepali cricket team has qualified for ICC World Twenty20, the international championship of Twenty20 cricket. For a nation from the Associate Members category, the second ICC membership hierarchy after Full Members, that has to struggle for proper cricket infrastructure and resources, it is an outstanding achievement to secure an opportunity to compete at the highest level of the game.
The win that sent Nepal to World Twenty20
On November 27, 2013 afternoon, the Nepali cricket fans had gathered at a stadium in United Arab Emirates to cheer for their team in its crucial ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier quarter-final encounter with Hong Kong - a win at the game would ensure a spot in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. Chasing 144, Nepal found themselves needing 26 off the last two overs to win. Captain, Paras Khadka, who had contributed to anchor the chase, was run out soon after with another 9 balls to go.
Nepal needed 13 off the final over with the set batsman, Sharad Vesawkar, in strike. Setting the fans to go crazy, Vesawkar lofted the first ball over long on for a six. When Vesawkar sent the next ball to the fine-leg boundary, the equation had changed from 13 needed off the last over to 3 needed off the last four balls. Next single from Vesawkar sent him to the non-striker's end with 2 needed off three, but that also meant that the new batsman, who had come in after Khadka's dismissal, was in strike. No run in the next ball meant 2 was needed off the last two balls, but a single from the next yorker meant the set batsman was back on strike with scores level and one ball to go. All the fielders had by then come inside the circle to stop the single. Piercing the defense and setting the teammates and the fans, in the stadium and around the world watching it live, into unprecedented celebrations, Vesawkar's powerful strike delivered the most important victory in Nepal's sporting history.
Cricket more than a sport in Nepal
Record crowd that turns up to cheer for its home team whenever an international cricket match is played in Kathmandu, massive rallies and celebrations that spontaneously start whenever the team wins a game, home or abroad, and fans all over the world following their team add more to the notion that cricket has, in the recent days, become a unifying factor in the country. Many players of the national team have become role models for young kids in the country, many of whom dream of playing for Nepal. Until recently, many players in Nepal had thought their dreams to play for Nepal in a cricket world event would not have materialized in their lifetime. Beating the odds, Nepali cricket earned itself a remarkable achievement.
Nepali cricket team's success has also become a source of inspiration to the Nepali community that has taken its achievement as a matter of great pride. We hope that its success will encourage and facilitate the development of better cricket infrastructure and governance in Nepal.
Update, March 2014: The Nepali cricket team had a remarkable showing at the 2014 World Twenty20. The records speak for themselves: massive 80 run win against Hong Kong in its opening game in its maiden World Twenty20 appearance, win over Afghanistan and narrowly missing qualification to the Super 10s, with Bangladesh, a Test playing nation, going through on net run rate (both Bangladesh and Nepal had equal points.) The qualification to and the performance at the international championship in a team sport marks one of Nepal's biggest achievements in its sporting history.
Congratulations Nepali national cricket team on your achievement and thank you for being a role model to many. Your success story will inspire many others in the community to craft their own success stories.
About Success Stories
The Success Stories series features achievements by individuals or groups from or with ties to Nepal. In addition to highlighting the contributions to the society, the Success Stories series hopes to promote the inspiration these achievements provide among the community.