‘We belong here’ – Paudel’s message after Nepal’s near-miss against South Africa « Khabarhub
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‘We belong here’ – Paudel’s message after Nepal’s near-miss against South Africa

15 June 2024  

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KATHMANDU: Nepal nearly pulled off an upset by defeating tournament contenders South Africa in Group D of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024.

When eight runs off six balls became two off two, the roars from Nepalese fans grew louder, as the Rhinos edged closer to securing a historic first-ever win against a Test-playing nation.

That was not to be the case as Ottneil Baartman hit the hard lengths and used the short ball cleverly, ensuring that striker Gulshan Jha missed both his attempts at a winning shot.

The batters tried to steal a bye off the final delivery, but the ball ricocheted off Jha’s back straight into the arms of Heinrich Klaasen, who affected a run out with a direct hit.

Still, this performance gave Rohit Paudel, the skipper of Nepal’s enthusiastic pack, enough reasons to hold his head high in the post-match press conference.

Restricting a strong South Africa line-up to 115/7 on the back of a brilliant 4/19 by Kushal Bhurtel, and then nearly chasing it down in the second innings, meant that the Asian side belonged at the global stage.

“I feel like the way we played today; it shows that we belong here,” Bhurtel added. “And the way we bowled, I think, and the way we batted also, I think we belong here. And this will give good confidence to us for the next game against Bangladesh.”

Paudel was pleased with Nepal’s performance in both aspects of the game on a trying wicket.

“I am very proud of the unit, especially the way they played today. The way we bowled in the first inning and the way we batted. Especially in the last few moments where we could have capitalised on our side, but it went their way,” he said.

Nepal’s performance was noticed by prominent cricketing voices.

Among them was South Africa legend Dale Steyn, who called the game the “Match of the Tournament” on ICC’s Digital Daily show, and enjoyed the spectacular atmosphere at the game, which had a very vocal and invested Nepalese fan base.

“It would’ve been the talk of the tournament if Nepal would’ve gotten over the line. It would’ve been fantastic, and they deserved to win,” Steyn said.

“(This was) the match of the tournament to be honest with you. The matches have gone down to the wire (in USA), we’ve moved down to the Caribbean thinking that scores are going to be back up to 160, maybe 170.

“But these nail-biting thrillers. I saw people crying in the stands, it shows how much it means to them, and that’s what cricket is all about.”

While their final group game against Bangladesh might be a dead rubber for them, Nepal can still affect the Tigers’ chances of qualification. The Nepal-Bangladesh fixture takes place on 16 June in St Vincent.



Publish Date : 15 June 2024 13:00 PM

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