Nepal started their ICC World Cup T20 campaign with an impressive 80-run victory over Hongkong at Chittagong, Bangladesh.
There were very little expectations on them, as they had lost both their official warm-up matches ahead of the qualifiers. But a gritty batting performance, which saw them set a target of 150 after being put into bat first, was backed up with a stunning display of spin bowling from Basant Regmi and Shakti Gauchan, picking up 3 wickets each, to blow away Hong Kong for just 69 runs.
Skipper Paras Khadka, leading by example, scored 47 runs in 37 balls, while vice captain Gyanendra Malla scored 48 runs in 41 balls. Openers Subash Khakurel and Sagar Pun, scoring 22 and 13 runs respectively, failed to convert their starts. Haseeb Amjad picked up 3 wickets for Hong Kong.
Chasing a modest target of 150, it all went downward for Hong Kong as Khadka took the wicket of HK opener Irfan Ahmed in the first ball of the innings. Regmi got the better of Mark Chapman, who showed fine form in the qualifiers, to ensure his team would walk away with full points.
Gauchan was awarded with the Man-of-the-Match award for finishing with excellent figures of 4-0-9-3, a spell which wreaked havoc in Hong Kong’s innings.
Playing their first ever cricket World Cup, the win has set-off massive celebrations in the country in Nepal. People came out to the streets of Kathmandu to celebrate their nation’s historic victory leading to a gala atmosphere back home.