Nepal and the United Arab Emirates follow divergent paths in cricket

Nepal advances to the World Cup qualifiers with a victory over the GCC nation in Kathmandu. The sport’s growth in more and more nations is evidence of its growing popularity. The game’s capacity to create events of extreme emotion and strain is being seen in assorted areas.

This was especially evident last week in Nepal, a nation that is typically not thought of as a cricket-playing nation by many.

The game was a niche activity that only existed in Kathmandu up until the 1980s. A significant improvement program, presented in the mid 1990s, helped playing cooperation and offices. As a result, in 1996, Nepal’s men’s team participated for the first time in an international competition, the Asia Cricket Cup. Nepal joined the International Cricket Council as an Associate member in the same year. In 2014, the team was awarded ICC T20I status, and in 2018, it was awarded ODI status.

This was accomplished in a dramatic manner, a characteristic of Nepal’s cricketing personality.

Nepal needed to win its final World Cup qualifying match and hope that the Netherlands beat Hong Kong. The Netherlands beat Hong Kong. All of this took place in the context of the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspending Nepal’s cricket board in 2016 for violating Article 2.9, which stipulates that free and fair elections are required and that government interference is prohibited. In October 2019, the ICC granted conditional readmission.

Nepal’s captain at the time, Paras Khadka, referred to “years and years of toil, persistence, sacrifices, commitment, and hard work” after ODI status had been secured. He also said that domestic structures needed to be stabilized if the team wanted to play in the ODI World Cup and even the Tests. Nepal has advanced from Division 5 to being within striking distance of the major contenders in the ten years since 2008.

The degree of fan support is one aspect that is not lacking domestically. Nepal is acknowledged as the ICC Associate member with the strongest support. Occasionally, this fervor has spilled over. When Nepal appeared to be losing a Division 5 match against the United States in February 2010, the crowd threw objects onto the field, resulting in an hour-long delay. This prompted an updated target, which helped Nepal, who edged into Division 4 on net run rate to the detriment of Singapore, who pursued. A contingent boycott was forced, with the level of arena walls requested to be expanded. A similar crowd disturbance occurred in a match against the UAE in December 2011, which resulted in a 2012 ban on hosting ICC events.

When Nepal hosted the Asia Cricket Cup in 2013, Afghanistan defeated Nepal in the final. There was no ban. It was reported that crowds of between 15,000 and 20,000 people attended matches in the group stage, rising to 25,000 for the semifinals and final, which were free of crowd trouble.

Many thousands watched the match live on TV. The team’s composition, which includes indigenous players who have advanced through the age group ranks, may account for this support. The absence of ticketing arrangements in the past may also be to blame.

Despite the fact that this was not the case for Nepal’s match against the UAE on March 16, 2023, reports suggest that it might as well have been. There was a sense of anticipation about the event. In League 2 of the ICC 2023 ODI World Cup qualifying phase, it was the final match of 134.

The third team would advance to the next round based on the outcome, one step away from participating in the World Cup in India in October and November. Namibia finished in third place, one point ahead of Nepal, with Scotland and Oman finishing first and second, respectively.

Toward the beginning of February 2023, Nepal appeared to have minimal possibility making the third spot, moping in the second to base spot. The UAE was in a much better position, but they collapsed in their final ten matches, winning just three.

Surprisingly, they lost three games to Papua New Guinea, the bottom team. Nepal, on the other hand, had won 10 of its last 11 matches before losing to the UAE in the final match, leaving it out of contention for third place.

Several hours before the start of play, there were long lines. Before the main gate and its guards were breached, people climbed the walls and trees around it later. One of only two venues in Nepal that can host international matches is the Tribhuvan University Cricket Ground in Kirtipur, Kathmandu. It can hold 18,000 people, but witnesses claim that over 25,000 people entered the ground. They were dissatisfied with the UAE’s progress, which included the fastest century by an Associate cricketer and a massive score of 310.

Nepal cheaply lost three wickets in response to this enormous target before rebuilding. As Nepal was trailing in the par score at that point, a rainstorm strained the spectators’ nerves. They turned out to be considerably more tense as they saw the UAE’s strategies to dial the game back.

The fear of disturbance grew. A few Nepalese players begged allies to remain mentally collected. The umpires then decided that play could not continue at 5:37 p.m. local time, after 44 bowled overs. For six, Nepal had scored 269. As indicated by the DLS framework used to compute interferences to play, Nepal’s objective by then was 260. One more triumph had been accomplished in emotional conditions, against old adversaries, who were powerfully disappointed.

Between March 26 and April 5, Namibia will host a playoff competition in which the UAE will participate. This contains the last four groups in Association 2, or more Canada and Jersey, who won feeder Challenger associations.

The UAE’s ODI status is at stake because Namibia, Canada, and Jersey, the UAE’s two highest-placed teams, will secure ODI status for the 2023-2027 World Cup cycle. In January and February, the best players from the UAE competed in the DP World ILT20 League.

Nepal’s star has increased while the team’s performance has stalled severely since then.

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