This is the first time Nepal is hosting the World Cricket League Championship. If crowd numbers are anything to go by, the event was a huge success. Each match was attended by about 10,000 people inside the venue, and around the same number gathered outside as well. The Vice-President and Prime Minister of Nepal were among those who enjoyed the experience of watching Nepal win their first ICC World Cricket League Championship matches.
The games were also beamed across to millions of viewers on the local Television network – Nepal Television and via Nepal TV’s YouTube channel, which was available on different platforms across 140 countries.
Speaking after the series local Captain Paras Khadka said playing at home was key to the positive result for his side.“ It is an amazing feeling to have International Cricket back at home and we are thrilled to have managed to finally win in front of our passionate home fans.
“We want to thank all those who put in efforts to organise these matches in Kathmandu and hope it is stepping stone for good things in the future.”
Nepal began the tournament at the bottom of the World Cricket league Championship table, having lost its previous two series against PNG and Scotland in July and November last year. But now with a 2-0 series win against Namibia, Nepal has now advanced from eighth to fifth.
While the host won the first match with ease by five wickets, Captain Paras Khadka admitted it was especially significant because it was Nepal’s first win in the World Cricket league Championship.
“The team put in a lot of effort, so hats-off to the boys for pulling off our first win. We have to keep working hard from here to challenge other teams in the WCLC.”
The second match on Monday went right down to the wire, as Nepal clinched victory with one ball to spare. Chasing 240 to win, it got to the target in the nick of time. Captain Paras Khadka starred with a century(103 off 94 balls), while Sharad Vesawker made a huge impact with consistent performances in both matches scoring 50 in the first and 74 in the second.
The Nepal captain was pleased with his own performance but also gave credit to the opposition for their efforts “Namibia played hard and ran us close in both games playing in unfamiliar conditions. They are amazing bunch of guys and we gelled outside the field and made new friends. Hope they enjoyed the Nepal experience and more International teams will come to Nepal in the future.”
Vesawker and Khadka have now raced up the charts to grab second and third spot in the World Cricket League Championship – top run-scorers list. Stephen Baard, Namibia’s Captain too benefited from the series, his half-century in the second match, helping him move up to fourth in the list.
Gerrie Snyman of Namibia added three wickets in the series and is now in fifth in the top wicket-takers list of the World Cricket League Championship, a spot he shares with Nepal’s Basant Regmi who added five wickets to his tally, both have a total of nine wickets in the tournament so far.
The move up the points table from bottom (eighth) to fifth is especially significant for Nepal in the eight-team tournament, where the participating teams have the opportunity to advance to the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, and subsequently a chance at making it to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Namibia meanwhile has dropped a place from sixth to seventh, and has just one win (against Hong Kong) from six games played so far. Namibia’s results read like this; a drawn series against Hong Kong, and a couple of two-nil series defeats to Kenya and Nepal. It is a long road ahead for Namibia if it wants to have a shot at progressing to the World Cup qualifiers.
Visiting captain Stephen Baard admitted the team was disappointed with the results. “We were outplayed in the first game while we made things difficult for ourselves in the second match.
“But I would like to say that it has been a great experience playing in Kathmandu in front of huge crowd, people have been very friendly towards us and team enjoyed the Nepali hospitality.”
The final third-round matches of World Cricket League Championships will be played next month between Papua New Guinea and Kenya.
Papua New Guinea v Kenya
28 and 30 May - ICC World Cricket League Championship, (venue tbc)
ICC World Cricket League Championship table.