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Nepal head coach Monty Desai: 'We are building our story, not spoiling anyone else's party'

Desai wants his team to play against Bangladesh imagining they have a chance to qualify for Super Eight

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
A happy Nepal team walks off after restricting South Africa, Nepal vs South Africa, Men's T20 World Cup, Kingstown, June 14, 2024

Nepal came agonisingly close to defeating South Africa  •  ICC/Getty Images

Nepal want to leave a mark on T20 World Cup 2024 in their last group game against Bangladesh, according to head coach Monty Desai. Although Nepal's one-run defeat against South Africa was heartbreaking, they will try to "put on a show" against Bangladesh, who are in a good position to grab a Super Eight spot.
Netherlands have an outside chance but their net run rate is too low. Nepal, with just one point from three games, are already out of the race.
"We are building our story, so I am not thinking about spoiling anyone else's party," Desai said. "The message in the dressing room was that we still want to live in a world of imagination, where we want to believe that we crossed the line [on Friday]. We want to think that we are on three points, looking forward to Bangladesh and playing to qualify for Super Eight. If you can bring that mentality and fight till the end, cross the line, at least we will go back with a proud moment of winning, and then probably think about the ifs and buts of other games. But yes, we want to put up a show."
Against South Africa, Kushal Bhurtel and Dipendra Singh Airee shared seven wickets, and later Aasif Sheikh scored 42. Sandeep Lamichhane went wicketless in his first match back in Nepal colours, but he was economical. Despite all that, a run-out on the final ball cost them the game. Desai said the Nepal players had to pick themselves up from the defeat.
"This is exactly where the mental strength will be tested for a young Associate team like Nepal," he said. "Twenty-four hours from now we will be planning, discussing and moving towards the stadium to play against Bangladesh. It is very important to remember the processes that have helped us so far."
The narrative around Nepal's cricket also involves their fans. They play in front of packed audiences back home, and it was no different in Dallas, Lauderhill and Kingstown. Desai appreciated the massive support but also wanted them to understand that Nepal's progress depended on playing big teams and winning big moments.
"I think the biggest success story of Nepal cricket is about these innocent fans," he said. "I say innocent because I am only looking at it through my lens. I know when I walk across the Tribhuvan University ground [in Kirtipur], I see so many of those Nepali fans on the banks, they might be having daily jobs, daily wages to live their life and they leave that and come to watch the game and support these young dreams.
"They have stood with the umbrellas in the rain in the past. When we qualified [for the T20 World Cup], they were standing on the roof, they were climbing the trees. There are so many layers to the definition of 'fans' as the 12th man for Nepal cricket. I am sure it will be very hard right now for them to soak in their emotions. Cricket is cruel sometimes. Again, I say South Africa had already qualified, we just needed to cross the line and stay alive in this tournament.
"When we qualified [for the T20 World Cup], they were standing on the roof, they were climbing the trees. I am sure it will be very hard right now for them to soak in their emotions"
Monty Desai on Nepal fans
"I urge the fans back home to keep supporting these young dreams with the limited resources, not using an excuse. I think we have taken strides. The more we get exposure against these Test nations, again another opportunity tomorrow, we'll go to that [game] against Bangladesh, and I think we'll be up for it. I know all it requires now in those one-ball battles is courage and that is something which we are instilling and moulding in these young dreams."
Meanwhile, Bangladesh fast bowler Tanzim Hasan has said that they will not take Nepal lightly as the format doesn't allow any team to hold momentum for too long.
"There is no small or big team in T20 cricket," he said. "We try to see each team equally. Because T20 is a game of momentum. It is a game of only 20 overs. No one can say when the momentum changes. We try to take each team equally. We will play aggressive cricket. We will stick to our place. It doesn't matter who the opponent is. We will try to play equally with everyone."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84