Nepal survived the biggest scare of their life to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier after edging the United States of America on net run rate to enter the final of ICC World Cricket League Division-III in Bermuda on Saturday.
After defeating Italy by eight wickets in their final league stage match, Nepal needed a win from Bermuda in their last match against USA to have any chance of qualifying for the final. Luck struck Nepal in the Caribbean country after the hosts defeated USA by five wickets and send Nepal in the final.
After the end of the round robin league match, Nepal ended up second in the table with a net run rate of 0.715 that was enough to pip USA who had a run rate of 0.456. Nepal, USA and Bermuda all finished with six points each in the board.
Nepal’s promotion ambition was in dire straits after they lost their first two matches – against USA and Uganda. After the early setbacks they needed to win their remaining three matches which in itself was not enough.
They also needed the results from other matches – particularly of USA and Uganda – come to their favour and that happened for Nepal. USA – who had stunned Nepal piling 366 runs – lost their last two matches – the first was against Uganda when they were bundled out for 93 which brought slide in their net run rate.
Nepal will now take on league stage winners Uganda in the final match on Sunday.
In their final league stage match, Nepal defeated Italy in no time after restricting the European nation for just 127-9 in 50 overs. Nepal reached 129-2 in 14.5 overs. Openers Subash Khakurel and Pradeep Airee gave Nepal a perfect start in the chase adding 87 runs in 12 overs.
Subash made 47 off 35 with four boundaries and two sixes before losing his wicket to Luis Di Giglio. Skipper Paras Khadka, batting at No 3, made 22 off just eight hitting three boundaries and a six and was the next to go losing his wicket to Fida Hussain.
With Nepal requiring just nine more runs after the dismissal of Paras, Gyanendra Malla completed the chase hitting a six and a four in the first two balls he faced. Pradeep remained unbeaten on 42 from 43 balls with four fours and one six.
Earlier, Nepal pushed Italy to the back foot early in the innings reducing them to 22-3 in 13.5 overs. Peter Petricola and Carl Sandri then added 48 runs for the second wicket before the Italian collapsed. Italy ended up losing their last seven wickets for just 57 runs.
Sanjam Regmi and man-of-the-match Rahul Kumar BK took three wickets each for Nepal, while Shakti Gauchan had two scalps. Basanta Regmi also picked up one wicket. Sandri top scored for Italy with 39 runs and Petricola made 31 runs.