Cricket has been a game that is uniting country in the situation where every thing else is a mess. Nepal got a chance to unite all once again in Kirtipur TU ground hosting “Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 Cup 2012/2013 “. The tournament was crucial for the Nepali team as well as Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) . First time in the history spectators were asked to buy a ticket watch the cricket and there were many of the fans in ground then there ever were in all the matches Nepal played.
Nepal with the new coach was ready for the match. Nepal was in Group A, with Maldives, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. the top two team would qualify for the semi finals and two team except Afghanistan and UAE would qualify for the World Cup qualifier at UAE.
1st Match : Nepal Vs Maldives
1st match of the host at TU stadium Kirtipur, first time Nepali cricket fans were paying for the ticket and ground was full. After ACC threatening about the spectators behavior the security was tight, even Lip balm and Pens were not allowed to the ground.
Maldives winning the toss invited Nepal to bat first. Pradeep (59 runs from 26 Balls ) gave a solid start to the team with Subash Khakurel (26 Runs from 20 Balls) on the other side. After loosing Pradeep and Subash with Gyanendra Malla, Paras Khadka and Binod Bhandari, Sarad Veswakar and Manjeet Shrestha helped the team to reach the total of 171 runs for 5 wickets in 20 overs.
Chasing the target of 172, Maldives were 95 runs for 7 wickets in 20 overs giving Nepal first win in the tournament.
Scorecard for first match here
2nd Match : Nepal Vs Hong Kong
Both the team winning the first match were face to face next day on the TU stadium Kirtipur. Confident Nepal chooses to bat first after winning a toss. Not a great start this time, Nepal started loosing wickets early in the game. It was Gyanendra Malla who took the team to the total of 115 runs. Gyanendra scored 38 Runs from 39 balls with three boundaries.
Chasing 116 runs Hong Kong won the match with 6 wickets. Basanta Regmi ( 4-0-23-3) and Shakti Gauchan (4-1-17-1) were only the bowlers to get the wickets.
Scorecard for Nepal Vs Hong Kong here
3rd Match : Nepal Vs Malaysia
Desperate to win Nepal was facing the team with their past coach Roy Dias. It was do or die game between the teams, because both the teams were with one win and one loss. Winning team was near to the semi final as Hong Kong was almost in the semi final with maximum points in the table.
Malaysia won the toss and invited Nepal to bat first. batting first for the third time in the tournament Nepal couldnot open very well as Pradeep was out duck when Nepal had 5 runs on the board. Loosing Pradeep and Gyanendra Malla, Nepal was in the pressure when the Captain came and took Nepal to the total of 163 runs for 8 wickets in 20 overs. captain Paras Khadka before beeing out scored 87 runs with 11 boundaries and 3 sixes.
Chasing the total of 164. Malaysia were on the field. The pressure was for both the team and malaysia couldnot hold that long and scored 144 runs for 9 wickets in 20 overs. Nepal won the match by 19 runs.
Captain of Nepal was awarded with the Man of the Match award for his 87 runs.
Score card for Nepal Vs Malaysia here
4th Match: Nepal Vs Singapore
Win with Singapore would help Nepal advance to Semi Final. Singapore had lost all the matches they played, Nepal were confident about winning and advancing further.
Nepal won the toss and elected to bat first in the fourth and final match of the group stage. despite of the bad start Nepal, loosing Subash at 5 runs. Nepal was able to put the total of 210 runs from 20 overs loosing 5 wickets. Pradeep Airee (30 runs from 32 balls) , Basanta Bhandari (54 runs from 34 balls), Paras Khadka (44 runs from 25 balls), Gyanendra Malla (30 runs from 11 balls) and Sharad Veswakar (26 runs from 11 balls) helped Nepal reach the higest total of the tournament.
Chasing 211 runs Singapore were all out in 15.1 overs for 85 runs in total. Nepal won the match with 121 runs and advanced to semifinal along with Hong Kong.
Paras Khadka was awarded with Man of the Match for his Captaincy, 44 runs and a wicket.
Score card for Nepal Vs Singapore here
5th Match: Semi Final – Nepal Vs UAE
Winner of Group B ,UAE and Runner up of Group A Nepal were fighting for the the place in the finals with Afghanistan.
UAE won the toss and chooses to bat first at TU stadium, Kirtipur. First time in the tournament bowling first , Nepal were able to restrict the UAE team for 133 runs for 9 wickets in 20 overs. Pirthu Baskota ( 4-0-20-3) was able to hold UAE to the total.
Chasing 134 Runs, Nepal got a good start after Pradeep got his second 50 in the tournament. Nepal won the match with 6 wickets in 19.1 overs and advanced to Final to be played with Afghanistan.
Pradeep Airee and Pirthu Baskota were awarded with Man of the Match award.
Score Card for Nepal Vs UAE here
6th Match: Final- Nepal Vs Afghanistan
Though advancing to the qualifier, Nepal had a game to show to the spectators more then 20000 in the ground and millions watching in TV set world wide. Afghanistan for the fourth time in the final winning three of them wanted the title for the fourth time and Nepal was in the finals for the first time.
Afghanistan won the toss and choose to field first. Nepal with a slow start could not take the pressure and could only make the total of 135 runs from 20 overs loosing 6 wickets. High scorer for the Nepali team was the captain, he scored his second fifty in the tournament. Binod Bhandari helped him with his 32 runs from 39 balls.
Low total was chased by ODI playing country Afghanistan in 17.5 overs, and won the Final for the fourth time by 7 wickets.
Paras Khadka was awarded with the Player of the series and praised as one of the best captain in Cricket
Score card for Nepal Vs Afghanistan here
Nepal had advanced a step ahead in every manner. Nepali team were able to make the highest total in the tournament, Nepali team fought with all the teams so well that different countries praised the team. Spectators showed how responsible they are. CAN was able to deliver the great tournament. Political parties were taking an example of the Nepali Cricket team.
Bhattarai is a keen follower of Nepali Cricket and can be followed through his blog http://binitbhattarai.wordpress.com