Opinion

Defeat hard to digest for Team Nepal

The defeat at the hands of South Africa put an end to the men’s national cricket of Nepal’s challenge in the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket tournament in Kingstown, St.Vincent, West Indies.

It was a must win fixture for Head Coach Monty Desai boys to stay in contention for a spot in the Super Eight.

Having already qualified for the Super Eight and unbeaten in the championship, the Proteas were overwhelming favorites against Nepal.

Given their records, vast experiences, batting depth and bowling strength, they were expected to make short work of the opposition.

Contrary to expectations, rank outsiders Nepal shocked and surprised the seasoned opponent by a solid performance and csme very close to inflicting a stunning defeat.

Skipper Rohit Paudel‘s decision to field first after winning the toss paid off handsomely. They restricted the opposition to a paltry 115.

The pitch proved ideal for spinners. They stepped up and bowled exceptionally well to exploit the dry and cracked pitch offering uneven bounce and grip.

They pinned down the batters from start to finish. The South Africans struggled to score runs and could only manage 115.

Kushal Bhurtel and Dipendra Singh Airee with 4 and 3 wickets respectively were pick of the bowlers.

Ace leg break spinner Sandeep Lamichhane played his first match in the tournament. Although he went wicketless, he bowled superbly and had batters at his mercy.

On the down side, Nepal’s fielding was somewhat sloppy. Had they not dropped a couple of crucial catches, they could have been chasing a smaller total.

The modest total was within the Rhinos’ reach. All they needed was a disciplined and convincing batting from the top order and a good opening stand, not seen lately.

Aasif Sheikh(42), Kushal Bhurtel(23) and Ani Shah(37) provided the team the much needed platform to script a famous victory over the highly fancied opposition.

Despite the vaunted pace bowling attack of South Africa in the first 10 overs, the batters withstood the pressure and managed to keep the scoreboard ticking.

At 114 for 7 with four balls to spare, an upset win for Nepal loomed large. Unfortunately, Gulshan Jha missed a shot and ran himself out to give South Africa a thrilling 1 run victory at the end.

To me in form skipper Rohit Paudel’s dismissal for a golden duck was the turning point in the innings.

Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi who scalped four wickets played a big part in South Africa’s remarkable fightback from a hopeless position to steer his team to victory.

Indeed it was heartbreak for Nepal who were on the cusp of scripting a shock and famous victory.

Despite defeat, they can hold their heads high. It was a valiant collective effort that fell short by a whisker. They must cope with failure, learn from mistakes and overcome negativity going forward.

Although the final match against Bangladesh is merely academic, they have the chance to sign off the tournament on a positive note. They have to go for the win against their South Asian neighbor.

Nepal’s performance has won the hearts and minds of cricket aficionados across the world. Also they have proven themselves capable of performing well at the highest level of the game.