Nepal created history on Thursday by securing the One-Day International status with a six-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea in the seventh place playoff semi-final under the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers at Harare in Zimbabwe.
Besides victory over PNG, Nepal’s fate also depended on the result of another match between the Netherlands and Hong Kong. Netherland helped Nepal’s cause sweeping aside Hong Kong by 44 runs.
At the Old Hararian cricket ground Nepal dismissed their opponents for 114 in just 27.2 overs. Nepal’s spin duo Sandeep Lamichhane and Dipendra Airee shared four wickets each to lay the platform for Nepal’s comprehensive win. Airee’s all-round performance of four wickets for 14 runs and 50 unbeaten runs also guided to victory.
Paras Khadka’s decision to field after calling the coin correctly was vindicated when Sompal Kami trapped Assad Vala, the PNG skipper, lbw in the third over for 10. Karan KC then got into the act, getting rid of the dangerous Tony Ura for 11, as the scoreboard read 29/2.
Lamichhane, the 17-year-old leg-spinner, was irrepressible once again, claiming figures of 4/29 to take his wicket tally for the tournament to 11. He took a wicket in each of his first four overs, trapping Soper lbw for 10 and then sneaking one past the defences of Bau (11) before accounting for Mahuru Dai (5) and Kiplin Doriga (10). That left PNG floundering at 78/6.
The results mean Nepal will retain the ODI and the Twenty20 International status for the next four years and can now include on its calendar the InterContinental Cup, a four-day tournament between non-test playing nations, and the World Cricket League Championship.
“Thank you everyone for the support… Just been years and years of toil, persistence, sacrifices, commitment and hard work. Finally WE BECOME An ODI nation….. Congratulations to everyone who has been part of Nepal cricket’s incredible journey!” Nepal skipper Paras Khadka tweeted.