Nepal Cricket has come a long way, from just a cult thing to now a mainstream gossip. Along the way, there have been ups as well as downs, and as we like to focus on the brighter side, we take a look at the top 5 historic moments in Nepal Cricket History.
Without further ado,
6. Nepal wins Div. 5; The Beginning
Cricket in Nepal was just a miniature Sport before this iconic moment. I feel this is the moment that ignited the spark in Nepal about Cricket. I still remember the final league game against the USA at TU Cricket Ground. Nepal was not only heading towards a barrel of huge defeat but also a position in the top two was slipping away. Then Nepal was rescued by ………. A game-changing spell ?? Heroic batting?? No… No …… far from it. By the fans! Yeah!!!! Weird! By cheering the team, you might ask, I’ve to say you’re utterly incorrect, mate. So what really happened?
Fans decided to take matters into their own hands and started throwing stones and bottles towards the ground in rage. It goes down as one of my least proud moments as a Nepal fan. But turns out, there was a twist in the tale. Due to the protest, the play was halted for 45-minutes. On resuming, the target was revised and the USA won by the D/L method; meaning Nepal finished the league stage with a slightly superior net run rate (1.351) than Singapore (1.347). Hence, giving the home side a fortuitous entry into the Final and more importantly into Division Four.
With added securities in the Final against the USA, Nepal salvaged the disappointed home fans by winning the game and the Division Five in a slightly controversial manner.
5. Nepal Win Division 3 and 4 on successive years
2010-14 has to be the most prosperous period in Nepal Cricket History. Nepal was in Division 5 at the start of the 2010s, halfway into the decade, Nepal was in T20 World Cup competing against the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan. As previously mentioned, the Division 5 Victory was the catalyst for growth. Later that same year, Nepal played in the 2010 ICC World Cricket League Division Four and earned a third spot that kept a place in Division 4 intact. A couple of years later, Nepal won the 2012 ICC World Cricket League Division Four. And 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Three, a year later.
This is historic not just for the trophies but also due to the sheer amount of growth Nepal cricket was achieving. Cricket started to be a mainstream thing. I remember a shift in perspective among parents and people that Cricket is more than just fun. Playing Cricket was discouraged back then, but these moments brought in the changes. More in-depth topics, such as players’ safety and salaries, started to become a national concern. Previously Paras, the legendary captain of Nepal, was allegedly quoted saying, “You can’t earn a living by playing cricket.” Things were starting to change…..
4. Nepal beat Hong Kong to qualify for the T-20 World Cup:
This moment needs little to no explanation. It was HISTORIC by all means. Nepal was playing in its inaugural major ICC tournament, the WORLD CUP. The excitement was immense. For most people, this was the first time they saw Nepal play on TV and for the enthusiast like us the first time in HD. NTV used to broadcast few and far between, but it was like 144p on YouTube these days. For the majority, they watched Cricket for the very first time.
And Nepal didn’t disappoint. It was a walk in the park against Hong Kong, a World Cup debutant, just like Nepal. I was pretty confident going to the game cause they were more or less of Nepal’s calibre. Nepal won comprehensively, and Spin twins of Shakti and Basant shone brightly. So did the leaders, Captain Paras, and Vice-captain Malla. Nepal bundled out Hong Kong for mere 69 runs in response to 149 posted by Nepal. Nepal’s performance raised some keen eyebrows in the process.
3. Nepal holds its own against Bangladesh:
I might be a little biased in putting two of the six moments from one same tournament. Still, Nepal being able to stand toe to toe with Bangladesh was symbolic. Symbolic of the leaps and bounce progress Nepal had made in the early 2010s. Nepal was rightly the underdogs heading into the game but had hopes of a miracle. Their first two games raised hopes of all Nepali —a total masterclass in the first and prevailing against the more formidable opponent, Afghanistan in the second.
Nepal’s familiar batting woes came back to hunt them as they posted a below-par total of 126/5. At the end of the first innings, Nepal was down and out, but they are not called Bir Gorkhalis for no reason. Nepal fought until the very end but an inspired inning by Shakib Al Hasan outclassed Nepal. Even though Nepal lost the game, it won much admiration from the cricket community.
2. Nepal Achiving ODI Status
Without a shadow of a doubt, Nepal gaining ODI status for the first time has to be the most historic moment in the history of the Nepal Cricket. Nepal thrashed Papua New Guinea on their way to ODI nation in the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier play-off.
Nepal then finally played an ODI game when they toured the Netherlands for the two Match ODI series.
Nepal, making their ODI debut, were comfortably placed by Gyanendra Malla’s Half-Century at 85/1 chasing 190, lost their plot to taste their first defeat in ODIs. As they often do, Nepal bounced back to win the second one-day in a thrilling one-run victory.
1. It had to be it………. Karan wins it for Nepal:
The most iconic, historic, groundbreaking whatever you wanna call it. It undoubtedly has to be Nepal’s miraculous win over Canada. An entire book can be written about the game. With everything on the line, Nepal crumbled big time, thanks to their unremarkable batting. A win would guarantee a place in World Cup Qualifier and ODI status within arms reach. Nepal, chasing a mammoth target of 195, had to bat out of their skin to move one step further for the Dream ODI status. Mind you, 195 in a 50 over game is not mammoth, but it sure felt that way that day.
Gyanendra had a poor series and was the first wicket to fall but the most heartbreaking moment followed the next ball. Paras caught out, pulling the very first ball. Recalling those moments I was emotionally distraught so were millions of Nepal fans. Nepal 22/2. We could feel our dream fade away in the blink of an eye.
Nepal – 144/9 in 42nd over, requiring 51 in just 47 balls with the last pair at the crease. None of the batsmen was known for their batting. Deep down I had given up my hopes, and I wasn’t the only one doing so. But Karan and Sandeep kept the runs ticking, the latter doesn’t get enough credit for his innings, he deserves in my opinion. He scored 5 runs off 18 balls, but that’s not the point; the main thing was he persisted with Karan, who was belting it. He smacked 4 sixes, including one in the final over, and 3 fours to score 41 runs and win for Nepal on the final delivery. It was incredible scenes, truly remarkable. The match, which had Nepal cricket fans shred tears in both utter distraught and sheer jubilation.
And that makes it the MOST HISTORIC MOMENT in Nepal’s cricketing history for me.