Nepal pip USA to WC Qualifiers
Nepal have leapfrogged USA to earn a place in the World Cup Qualifiers after a dramatic day at the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in Bermuda.
It was a plausible, but unlikely, scenario at the start of the day with Nepal needing to thrash Italy then hope that Bermuda overcame USA. In the end, that is exactly what happened.
Nepal raced to victory with a massive 211 deliveries to spare which gave their net run-rate the surge required to keep their hopes alive. Tight bowling had restricted Italy to 127 for 9 and then Nepal's openers - Subash Khakurel and Pradeep Airee - added 87 in 12 overs to speed them on their way before captain Paras Khadka provided the finishing touches with 22 off eight deliveries.
Still, however, Nepal needed a favour from Bermuda who, by now, had no chance of progressing. Ultimately, Bermuda cruised home with more than five overs to spare, but it will have been an agonising few hours for Nepal. The hosts impressively knocked off 221 led by Chris Douglas, who made 89 off 75 balls.
Nepal will now join Uganda, who had already qualified top of the group, at next year's World Cup Qualifiers to compete for a chance to play at the main event in Australia and New Zealand in early 2015.
Speaking after the match, Khadka said it was hard work more than luck helped his side into the World Cup Qualifiers. "Pressure is always there, after having lost both our first two games. We had to step it up," he said. "Hats off to the boys for having played so well and for their determination. We had to wait for the results of the other matches, and then it happened for us. They say that when you work hard, things and luck work for you. That's what we believe in and it worked for us."
The action is not done yet in Division 3 though, with Nepal facing Uganda in the final on Sunday. Khadka said his side would put the negatives results of the past week out of their minds when they play that game: "We'll think positive and forget what happened. It was good that we were playing as a team today. The momentum is back and we just need to continue the momentum. Like I've said before, if we play to our potential, the results will be pretty good."