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Nepal introduces itself to the world as ODI nation

Mar 15, 2018 | Cricketingnepal |

Nepal has become a One Day International country in world cricket.

In their ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers seventh place playoff semi-final at the Old Hararians ground in Harare, Nepal's six-wicket crushing of Papua New Guinea (PNG) combined with Netherlands' 44-run win over Hong Kong as the tiny Himalayan country rose on the capability of its homegrown talent to become an ODI nation.

The historical achievement comes as a sheer contrast to what has gone off the field for Nepali cricket which is surviving without a cricket board, poor infrastructure and without domestic structure. While the poor infrastructure and domestic structure could be blamed to unwillingness of cricket officials, their ill preparedness in the build up to the Qualifiers had actually resulted out of suspension of the cricket governing body of the country. 

But all's well that ends well. Nepal needed a victory against PNG and a four-wicket haul coupling with a half century from Dipendra Singh Airee helped Nepal win the crucial game and the Dutch did the required job winning their other match at the Kwekwe Sports Club. 

22 years after setting its journey to world cricket, Nepal have now become a nation which has opened the doors to rub shoulders against world cricket giants and get the game registered as one day internationals. 

In the match on Thursday, leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and Dipendra Singh Airee picked up four wickets each bunlding out PNG for just 114 runs in 27.2 overs before the latter's half century led Nepal to 114-4 in 23 overs. 

Nepal did lose skipper Paras Khadka (20), Anil Sah (nine) and vice-captain Gyanendra Malla (one) at 35-3 but a below-par PNG total was well within Nepal's sight. Dipendra forged a 67-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Aarif Sheikh (26) to get Nepal's ODI hunt on track. 

Man-of-the-match Dipendra struck three sixes and a boundary in his 58-ball 50 sealing the game with a six, also reaching his half century.

Earlier, Sandeep Lamichhane destroyed PNG's middle order once Sompal Kami and Karan KC got rid of in-form Asad Vala (10) and Tony Ura (11) respectively. Dipendra then polished off the lower middle order and the tail to leave Nepal with little to do. Charles Amini top scored for PNG with an 18-ball 19. 

Nepal will now play the Dutch for seventh place in Kwekwe on Saturday.


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