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February 26, 2010
News : Singapore cricket "badly hurt" by ICC decision - Captain
News : ICC inquiry stands by result of crowd-marred Nepal game
News : ICC to investigate Nepal riot
Report : USA and Nepal controversially win promotion
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Cricket League Division Five
Sites: ICC World Cricket League
When the day started, Nepal seemed almost assured of finishing in the top two of the ICC World Cricket League Division 5, thus earning a promotion to a higher division. As it turned out, they did make it to Division 4, but only with some generous assistance from the home fans, whose displeasure with their team's performance ensured that enough time was wasted to bring Duckworth-Lewis into play and upset the very delicate net-run-rate (NRR) calculations. In the bargain, Singapore were short-changed, being desperately unlucky to miss out on promotion due to an NRR which was 0.0035 lesser than Nepal's.
Going into the final round of league games, Nepal were sitting pretty: they were on top of the table with eight points - two clear of USA and Singapore - while their NRR was 1.919, seemingly well clear of USA (1.355) and Singapore (1.114).
Things started to go wrong when they made a mess of their match against USA, getting bowled out for 162. Singapore, meanwhile, did their bit to make things interesting, chasing a target of 193 against Jersey in a mere 26 overs. That lifted their NRR to 1.347, which meant they were very much in the mix. It left USA requiring to chase 163 in 37.4 overs to dump the hosts out of the competition. And when they were coasting at 150 for 5 after 32, it appeared almost certain that USA and Singapore would make the cut.
That's when the crowd came into play. Sanjam Regmi, the offspinner, had just been carted for three sixes in a single over, the 32nd of the USA innings. That was the cue for the home fans to vent their anger, which continued long enough for the umpires to reduce four overs from USA's run-chase. This reduced USA's target to 157 from 46, but in the bargain it did a huge favour to Nepal, shaving off only six runs from their original score in the four overs lost. It lifted their NRR only slightly, but in a contest of such wafer-thin margins that made all the difference.
When play resumed, USA polished off the remaining runs required in nine more deliveries, but it was two balls too late for Singapore: if USA had won in two fewer deliveries, or even if they had finished off the game with a six instead of a four, Singapore would have qualified at the expense of Nepal. As it turned out, the partisan crowd decided that they needed to make their presence felt. Their aim might not have been so lofty, but their contribution had repercussions far beyond the result of this game.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.