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Asia Cup: A dream come true for Nepal

Asia Cup: A dream come true for Nepal

Nepal have won the ACC Men’s Premier Cup, making its way to the Asia Cup for the first time. This is indeed a dream come true for Nepali cricket team and supporters. In the final held at the TU Ground, Kirtipur, Nepal defeated the UAE by seven wickets to secure its place in the Asia Cup scheduled to take place in Sept 2023.

Nepal had won against the same side in March, landing a berth in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers. Nepal will compete in Group A against Pakistan and India. Group B consists of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan. 

Nepal chased the target of 118 runs in 30.3 overs with the loss of three wickets.  Gulsan Jha and Bhim Sarki shared an unbeaten partnership of 96 runs. They contributed 67 and 36, respectively. Jha hit six sixes and three fours in 84 balls and Sarki hit four fours in 71 balls.  Jha now has two fifties at a young age of 17 in his ODI career. The first one was in the final and deciding match for the World Cup qualifier against the UAE. The second one on Tuesday, again against the UAE which too was a historic final for Nepal.

The UAE’s Rohan Mustafa took two wickets and Aayan Afzal Khan took one.   The UAE scored 117 runs at the cost of all their wickets in the first inning. They lost the toss and were asked to bat first. Asif Khan made 46 for the team with seven fours and one six. Aryan Larka scored 13 runs on 28 balls. 

For Nepal, Lalit Rajbanshi took four wickets followed by two each by Karan KC and Sandeep Lamichhane and one each by Gulsan Jha and Sompal Kami. Rain forced a halt of the game on Monday at 27.3 overs, forcing it to be continued on Tuesday. With just one wicket in hand, the UAE had scored 106 runs on the first day. Gulsan Jha was named the player of the match and Sandeep Lamichhane, the player of the series. Lamichhane took 13 wickets in this tournament.

As the top three finishers at the Premier Cup, Nepal, the UAE, and Oman will compete in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in July against five-member ‘A’ Teams from the region. The team received praise from Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal for their performance. He promised to promote and reward Nepali cricketers for their hard work and achievements.  Deputy Prime Ministers Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Purna Bahadur Khadka attended the final game at TU Cricket Ground.

Cancellation rumors

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the cricket governing body of India, has declared that the Indian team would not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup due to security concerns. Pakistan is scheduled to host the Asia Cup 2023 in September.

The BCCI is allegedly intending to stage a brand-new five-nation tournament as a warm-up for the ODI World Cup 2023 after rejecting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s ‘hybrid model’ for hosting the Asia Cup 2023.

The Indian team will play its matches outside of Pakistan while the other teams play there, according to a hybrid model that Pakistan has proposed to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). However, the BCCI wants the entire tournament moved somewhere else. And the PCB has asserted that if they lose their hosting rights, they will not take part in the competition.

The BCCI and the PCB remain firm in their positions on the Asia Cup hosting, which has been a hot topic in recent weeks. Additionally, there have recently been rumors that the Asia Cup will be canceled or postponed. However, the ACC will have to call an Executive Board meeting to postpone or cancel the event. The meeting may be called by the chairman Jay Shah, who also serves as the BCCI’s secretary, within seven days.

Inside Sports quoted an ACC source: “To date, there has been no indication of any such meeting.”  According to a report in the Pakistani media, PCB would not consent to hosting the Asia Cup at a neutral venue and no such ‘neutral venue’ proposal or notice has been sent to the member countries as of Monday, according to Inside Sports.

If these two strong teams stick to their commitment on Asia Cup hosting, Nepal, an emerging team who fought for its place for the cup, will have its dream killed due to an unnecessary power tussle.