Oman upset the apple cart by prevailing over Nepal in a nail-biting thriller to win the 2023 ICC Twenty20 Asian Qualifier in Kathmandu recently.
With the teams tied in the allocated 20 overs, the match was extended to super over, keeping the raucous and frenzied partisan crowd on the edge of their seats.
At the end of the day, Oman held nerves, withstood the pressure and came out with flying colours. They delivered the knockout punch to emerge victorious, silencing the massive home crowd.
The winning target for Nepal was 22 runs in the super over, but they fell short, scoring ten runs.
Oman proved to be Nepal’s nemesis. They ended the tournament undefeated (the only team) and got the better of Nepal on two occasions, including the final.
As winners and runners-up both Oman and Nepal have qualified for the 2024 T20 World Cup championship taking place in the United States and the West Indies.
Expectedly the competition was a success with every match drawing a large crowd. Nepal may not have won the tournament but given their overall performance, there is every reason for us to become optimistic about the future of Nepal cricket.
We have such a wealth of talent on our hands. The qualification of the senior team and under-19 to the final round of the mega events is a testament to that.
Everyone agrees that Nepal can reach greater heights of success in international cricket. As a matter of fact, we have been hearing this rallying cry for as long as I can remember. As I write we continue to be in a wait-and-see mode.
Nepal has been making cricketing headlines once in a while, thanks largely to players’ sheer efforts and determination, despite challenges and uncertainties.
They have been churning out sterling performances and delivering results under difficult circumstances. Certainly, they have made a mark for themselves in international cricket.
That being said, the truth of the matter is, we haven’t really been able to maximize the potential all these years. Also, there is a lack of a supportive environment for players’ career growth.
Our standings in international cricket should have been much better by now. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. The overall state of domestic cricket, including grassroots level, remains far from desired in terms of development, facilities, investment and infrastructure.
The silver lining is that the popularity of cricket in the country is at an all-time high, and a record number of budding youngsters are playing competitive cricket at national and local levels carrying the dream of playing international cricket for the country one day.
Without a doubt, cricket does have scope to grow in the country further. However, the future of Nepal cricket entirely depends on how the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) governs moving forward.
The bitter truth is that the biggest roadblock to getting things done, ironically, has been the CAN itself. They have been a big letdown largely in terms of governance and management. Poor leadership, absence of professionalism, lack of accountability, incompetency, internal conflicts, lack of clear direction, scandals and petty politics in the cricket body are irrefutable facts.
As a result, cricket development has failed to take off to the degree that is needed and required. Mr.Chatur Bahadur Chand re-elected for a second term as President of CAN must demonstrate true leadership qualities and responsibilities to make his tenure meaningful and productive.
What matters most is delivering on promises to develop and uplift cricket. There is absolutely no room for empty promises and maladministration now. Obviously, more than words, actions count.
Whether former skipper of the national team Paras Khadka’s presence in the cricket association as the new secretary makes a world of difference or not, we will have to wait and see. Only time will tell…