World T20 2014 March 15, 2014

Young Nepal out to impress big boys

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Interest in cricket in Nepal grown tenfold - Khadka

Overview

Less than 18 years after playing their first competitive match, Nepal have reached the world stage by qualifying for the World T20. It is a massive occasion for the country and they have a serious cricket team to boot too. They were third in the qualification tournament, after defeating UAE in the playoff game.

Nepal climbed quickly through the World Cricket League ranks, moving up from Division Five to Division Two from 2010 to last year when they became Division Three champions. They made it to the World T20 qualifiers after finishing second in the 2013 ACC Twenty20 Cup. In the November qualifiers, they lost to Afghanistan in the semi-finals, but had already qualified for the World T20s after beating Hong Kong in the quarters.

Nepal's progress so far tells of how popular the game is in the country where there is now stiff competition between football and cricket. Over the last five years, the IPL too has captured the people's imagination in the country. If a particular sport is popular, it rubs off on the youth the most and in the Nepal team, there isn't a player who has reached the age of 30.

This young team from Himalaya country could be the one of the most eye-catching in the early stages of the tournament. They are in Afghanistan and Bangladesh's group, and will take away some of the attention. In front of a world audience, how cricket is played in Nepal will be there for all to see.

Key player

The man at the helm of this fully charged team, Paras Khadka, is also the team's highest-scorer and among the top three wicket-takers in T20s. He will be keen to turn in the same sort of performance at a slightly higher level. He averaged 23.40 with the bat in the World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand, so he will also have to turn around his form.

Surprise package

Pace bowler Sompal Kami took eight wickets in New Zealand, and can be a surprise weapon. He isn't 19 yet, and definitely can grow more physically and mentally. Though he will be playing on batting-friendly wickets in Chittagong, he could be expected to extract wickets, like he did against Namibia back in January.

Weakness

Like most young teams, the inexperience of playing against top nations could stand against Nepal. The dew in Chittagong could affect their slow bowlers, while their batting has to look to change gears quickly when the need arises.

World T20 history

This is their maiden appearance, having turned out as the third best among the qualifiers from UAE in November last year.

Recent form

Nepal were ninth in the World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand this January, but they would like to replicate their form from the World T20 qualifiers from November. In all T20s, they have won 11 out of 19 games.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on March 18, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    we have ability to defeat any team go nepal go

  • dummy4fb on March 16, 2014, 16:27 GMT

    nepal had shown the great potential.......... nd played well against hongkong........ really happy shakti sir man of the match great to see him.............

  • dummy4fb on March 16, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    great Nepal..Nepal will go on second round...

  • dummy4fb on March 16, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Irrespective of the result of the game, let's cheer for Nepal!!! Nepaaaaallll!!!

  • dummy4fb on March 16, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    forget the world and play with out any pressure......

  • Samar_Singh on March 16, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    Time has come . Lets do it now. No matter win or loss we are always with you. Play good game of cricket. All the best Team Nepal.

  • QTS_ on March 16, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    Even if Nepal do not impress much in this tournament, the idea should be to persist. Nepal should try to keep improving and aim to qualify for other tournaments - more T20's or the Asia Cup. The path is long, so relaxing at any point could slow things down considerably. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and now Afghanistan have been on the same road, and are now enjoying the results of their efforts. So Nepal fans should keep up their support but not be disappointed if results do not come immediately.

  • dummy4fb on March 16, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    Good luck to both Nepal and Hong Kong! I am very glad to see both the teams make it this far.

  • deconstruct on March 16, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    I am from Pakistan. I was in Nepal last November, my first visit. I loved the friendly, cooperative and hospitable people as well as the beautiful country. My best wishes to the Nepalese team. Subhakamana !

  • RizalAasish on March 16, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    Best of luck NCT.we ned the gift of win on the occasion of holi.

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