After a thrilling Super Over battle that saw Oman clinch the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier title, Nepal’s star cricketer, Sandeep Lamichhane, turned to social media to reflect on the intense match and express gratitude towards his team and supporters.
In a platform X, Lamichhane shared his thoughts, saying, “A great week of Cricket full of excitement. Sad not being able to win today’s game. But there are so many things to learn and move forward. Would like to thank my team, the management, all the staff for giving me this opportunity to represent this beautiful Nation. Thanks to all the kind-hearted supporters of Nepal Cricket for your unwavering support. Until next time.”
Lamichhane, known for his exceptional spin bowling, played a crucial role in the T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier final. Despite the heart-wrenching loss in the Super Over, his performance was noteworthy as he took important wickets, including those of Ayaan Khan and Shakeel Ahmed, in a bid to contain the Oman chase. The young cricket sensation’s dedication and skill continue to make him a key figure in Nepal’s cricketing endeavors.
The dramatic final, held at the TU Cricket Ground in Kirtipur, Kathmandu, ended in a nail-biting Super Over, as both Nepal and Oman had already secured their spots in the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with their respective semi-final victories.
In the championship showdown, Nepal chose to bat first and posted an impressive total of 184-6 in their 20 overs, with captain Rohit Paudel and Gulsan Jha scoring half-centuries. However, a late surge by Oman’s Mahran Khan and Mohammad Nadeem forced the match into a Super Over.
Oman’s Aqib Ilyas and Naseem Khusi made the most of the Super Over, posting 21 runs without losing a wicket, while Nepal’s Kushal Malla and Jha managed just 10-1 in reply. Oman ultimately emerged victorious, securing the Asia Qualifier title.
Despite an initial struggle for Nepal, with a shaky start leaving them at 60-4 in the 10th over, Paudel and Jha’s impressive partnership for the fifth wicket helped Nepal reach a competitive total. Bilal Khan played a pivotal role for Oman, taking three wickets for 26 runs, while Aqib contributed with two wickets for 22 runs.
In Oman’s chase, Kashyap Prajapati’s 63 runs and a crucial partnership with Aqib set the stage for their victory. Sandeep Lamichhane did his best to contain the Oman chase by taking two key wickets. However, late heroics from Nadeem and Mehran Khan ensured that the match ended in a thrilling tie.
Aqib Ilyas was awarded the player of the series for his outstanding performance, contributing 106 runs and taking 10 wickets throughout the tournament.
The next challenge for both Nepal and Oman will be the T20 World Cup, which is set to take place across the United States and the West Indies in July next year. Nepal secured their World Cup ticket by defeating the UAE in the semi-finals, marking their second appearance in the prestigious tournament. Meanwhile, Oman will be participating in their third T20 World Cup.
With this victory, a total of 18 teams have qualified for the 2024 T20 World Cup, which is the first edition to feature 20 teams. Host nations, the West Indies and the United States, secured automatic qualification. The top eight teams from the 2022 edition of the competition, including Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Netherlands, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, earned their spots. Afghanistan and Bangladesh secured their positions as the next-highest-ranked teams in the format.
Ireland and Scotland qualified from the Europe region qualifier, Papua New Guinea advanced from the East Asia-Pacific region, and Canada secured their spot from the Americas region. The final two places for the World Cup will be determined through the Africa qualifier, which will conclude at the end of the month.
As the cricket world eagerly anticipates the 2024 T20 World Cup, Nepal and Oman’s thrilling performance in the Asia Qualifier final is a testament to the growing competitiveness and enthusiasm for the sport in the region. Fans around the world are undoubtedly looking forward to an exciting and action-packed tournament next year.