For the first time, Nepal will be heading to a global cricketing event as it secured one of the top six spots in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament. The game of cricket is wildly popular on the South Asian subcontinent, so much so that the BBC has called the sport the region's best-known brand name. Cricket fever in Nepal is catching up as the country has become the fifth South Asian country to play in the ICC World Twenty20 to be held in Bangladesh in 2014.
The cricket team of the Himalayan country secured a thrilling last-ball victory over Hong Kong on 27th of November, 2013. Sharad Vesawakar, the hero of the match, hit a six and four and faced the final ball in the last over during which Nepal needed 13 runs.
The thrilling last over has been posted on YouTube and is being widely shared.
“This is the biggest moment of our lives,” said Nepali captain Paras Khadka after the match, according to Cricket.com. “It’s all our childhood dreams come true.”
Former Nepali cricket team captain Binod Das (@binodsum) tweeted:
And we are in the World Cup…. #DreamFullFilled
— Binod Das (@binodsum) November 27, 2013
Sports enthusiast and former sports journalist Bhaskar Gyawali (@bhaskargyawali) tweeted:
आज खेल हेर्दा ट्वीट गर्न मन मानेन, पुरा ध्यान खेलमा लगाइयो, खेलको तनाबले अझै छोड़ेको छैन, हामी सच्चै बिश्वकप पुग्यौं । ठुलो सपना साकार भो ।
— Bhaskar Gyawali (@bhaskargyawali) November 27, 2013
Today, while watching the game, I didn't tweet. I was concentrated in the match. The anxiety has still not stopped. We have really reached the World Cup. Big dream fulfilled.
A match of luck and labour
Nepal ranked third in the group after the end of first round matches. Scotland had to be satisfied at the fourth place in spite of defeating Denmark in their final match. Nepal outscored Scotland in the run-rate by a narrow margin [ne] of 0.0002. Nepal maintained a run-rate of 0.3794 while Scotland's run-rate was 0.3792.
In their match with Hong Kong, Nepal won the toss and elected to field. In this tournament, Nepal has been better at chasing targets. Nepal scored 186 runs to defeat Kenya.
Jagat Tamata, a cricket coach, said in an interview with Ujyaalo Online [ne] that the Nepali team has worked hard for the tournament. The team has studied the video clips of the opposing team players and they formulate their strategies accordingly.
The spectators’ support throughout the match was also crucial, as ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) noted:
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 27, 2013
After the historic win, congratulations poured in from all walks of life in Nepal. Acting Prime Minister Khil Raj Regmi congratulated the team on their success.
The ex-Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai (@brb_laaldhwoj) tweeted:
Congrats Nepali 20-20 cricket team on your grand entry to World Cup !
— Baburam Bhattarai (@brb_laaldhwoj) November 27, 2013
Cricket legend Brian Lara (@BrianLara) praised the Nepali team's confidence
The Nepal team did amazingly well and wat i notice since i saw them in Bermuda is that they are playing wit more confidence #futureofcricket
— Brian Lara (@BrianLara) November 28, 2013
Even those not knowing cricket were glued to the game. Journalist Bhabasagar Ghimire (@Bhabasagar) wrote:
क्रिकेट कहिल्यै बुझिएन र बुझ्ने कोशिश गरिएन पनि । जब आज राम्ररी बुझेर गेम हेरियो नेपाल त ट्वान्टी ट्वान्टी विश्वकपका लागि छनौटमा पुगिसकेछ!!!
Never understood cricket and tried to understand. When I watched the game, understanding well, Nepal had already qualified for Twenty20 World Cup.
All Nepali dailies were awash with the stories of the emphatic win. The news of the recent election, in which voters chose candidates for the country's second Constituent Assembly which will be tasked with drafting a constitution, took backstage.
Satish Pandey (@SatishKTM), an ardent sports fan,tweeted:
— Satish Pandey (@SatishKTM) November 28, 2013
Nepal will join seven other Asian countries, including the big boys India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and experienced Bangladesh, Afghanistan, UAE and Hong Kong in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup.
Nepal needs to burn the midnight oil till the real show begins in Bangladesh from 16 March to 6 April 2014.