A 63-second of silence and there was Phil Hughes all around. The TU Stadium was full one more time. The flags were unfurled, the ground lush green. Cricket was back in Nepal but very noble.
In a unique tribute to late Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, Nepal on Saturday successfully hosted the emotion-riding Tribute Match where it saw a massive turn out. The visiting Australia cricketers – Ryan Carters, skipper of Team Red, Matthew Elliott, Tim Anderson and Charlie Burke – combined with Nepali cricketers for a clash against Team Blue, led by national team skipper.
Team Red went on to win the match by one run following a decisive bowling from Elliott in the penultimate over but the stats repeatedly remembered the soulful Hughes.
In a 63-over game (31.3-over-a-side) sold at a price of Rs 163, Team Red made 163-9. Hughes was batting on 63 when he was hit by a lethal bouncer during a Sheffiled Shield match against South Australia on November 25.
The number of balls played by Australian cricketers – Anderson (16), Elliott (18), Carters (28) and Burke (one) – totaled 63. Hughes never returned to take to the crease but the runs of his last innings have been reverberating all around.
Nepali national team cricketer Sharad Vesawkar made 52 off 53 with six boundaries to lead Team Red to a decent total. Sanjam Regmi, Karan KC and Ramnaresh Giri picked up two wickets each for the Blue.
Mahesh Chhettri top scored for the Blue with 58 off 74 hitting six boundaries and Binod Das was their next best scorer with 41 off 29 hitting six fours and a six. Man-of-the-match Elliott (3-21) and Basanta Regmi (3-21) shared six wickets between them.
The match was just a gesture that has once again established Nepali in the global map. A gesture, if fathomable, has consoled the sole of those who have been in grief due to death of Hughes.
The tribute campaign will be further stretching to grandeur when mountaineer Chhurim Sherpa places Hughes’ bat and jersey at the top of Mt Everest.
May your soul rest at the roof of the world. Rest In Peace Hughesy