Every time Nepal cricket gets a global stage, it leaves no stone unturned to prove that it has the potential to become a global cricketing power. It was the same story on July 19, when Nepal XI took Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at the Lords’ Cricket Ground, also known as the Mecca of Cricket.
For the record, Nepal bowled out MCC for 176 to register a 41-run win after scoring 217 for 8 in 50 overs. But, the match result isn’t as important as Nepal’s appearance at the Lords’ as it’s an honor & recognition for an Associate nation whose cricket board remains suspended by ICC.
“All those years [of playing cricket], we never dreamed that we will get a match at Lords’,” Nepal’s captain Paras Khadka said. “It’s a platform for us to showcase what Nepal cricket is and the talents.”
“To play at the ground where cricket originated is a historic moment and we have been able to give a message to the world from this platform,” Khadka said after the match. “Country like Nepal won’t get an opportunity to play at Lords always, but we got an opportunity and we proved ourselves.”
More than 3,000 Nepalis and Nepal-supporting English people from all over England attended the match played as a part of the celebrations of 200 years of diplomatic relations between Nepal and the UK. The Lords’ live streamed the match on YouTube which regularly had more than 10,000 live viewers. “The fans are our biggest motivators, everywhere we go in the world, they come to support us,” Khadka had added.
On a hot sunny day and a slow pitch, used for the England – Pakistan Test match, Nepal won the toss and elected to bat first. Nepal’s batsmen were able to get a competitive total although they couldn’t convert a good start into a big knock.
Opener Gyanendra Malla gave Nepal a decent start and played an anchoring role scoring 39 whereas captain Khadka scored 30. Sharad Veswakar (27), Sagar Pun (26), and Raju Rijal (24) all got the start but couldn’t convert. Towards the end, Basant Regmi (24 not out) and Sompal Kami (20) ensured that Nepal reaches past 200 with their 42-run stand for the eighth wicket.
Fast bowler Chad Barrett took 2/35 in 10 overs, while captain and off-spinner Keith Dutch took 2/36.
In reply, MCC’s decent start reaching 35 for none was spoiled by spinners. Right-arm off-spinner Sagar Pun picked up 3/35 whereas left-arm spinner Basant Regmi and pacer Sompal ripped the tail with 2 wickets each.
Only opener George Adair batted brilliantly in the chase and kept his side in the hunt for a victory. He got a 100 off 122 balls in a patient knock and briefly threatened to pull off the match in favor of MCC before failing to do so. The only other batsman to reach some score was Richard Wilkinson who got 20.