In March 2018, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to grant ODI status to Nepal. The move came after Nepal had defeated Papua New Guinea in the World Cup play-off. In less than a year, Nepal have made gigantic strides in the world of cricket as they defeated United Arab Emirates (UAE), who had played in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand to win the three-match series 2-1 to create history by winning their maiden ODI bilateral series. The win against the UAE at the ICC Cricet Academy in Dubai comes on the back of a recent-series against the Netherlands where they tied the two-game series 1-1.
After losing a hard-fought first match by three wickets, Nepal were boosted by Rohit Paudel’s fifty and a five-wicket haul from Sompal Kami and a brilliant spell of 4/24 from Sandeep Lamichhane as Nepal leveled the series. Paudel, aged 16 years and 147 days, smashed 55 off 58 balls and his knock made him the youngest to score an international fifty breaking the previous record held by Sachin Tendulkar and Shahid Afridi. In the deciding game, their skipper Paras Khadka led from the front with 2/44 and a century as Nepal chased down 255 to win by four wickets on Tuesday.
After electing to bowl, Nepal got rid of the openers cheaply and reduced them to 47/4 in 20 overs. However, Shaiman Anwar and Chundangapoyil Rizwan shared a 100-run stand to steady the hosts. After Rizwan was dismissed for a solid 45, Anwar was given good company by Mohammad Boota who slammed five fours and four sixes to revive UAE. Anwar also attacked the Nepal bowlers and they ended up on a competitive 254/6. Anwar’s 87 off 70 balls was the key in UAE reaching a target to put Nepal under pressure.
However, Khadka, who had starred with the ball decided to punish UAE with the bat and he got good support from Gyanendra Malla (31) with a 62-run stand. Khadka was the bedrock of the Nepal innings and despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Khadka notched up a century and he became the first Nepal player in history to score an ODI century. When he fell for 115, Nepal needed 40 runs off 11 overs but Sompal Kemi (26*) and Aarif Sheikh (21) ensured Nepal won the match to seal a famous win.
Nepal were one of the three associate members during the 2014 ICC World T20 which was held in Bangladesh and they made a good impression. After losing to Hong Kong and pushing Bangladesh to the limit, Nepal achieved a famous win over Afghanistan to show that they belonged on the world stage.