Nepal 115 for 4 (Airee 50) beat Papua New Guinea 114 (Airee 4-15, Lamichhane 4-29)
Nepal have claimed ODI status for the first time with their six-wicket win over Papua New Guinea. Dipendra Singh Airee was front and centre on this historic occasion, claiming 4 for 14 to knock the opposition over for 114 and then leading the chase with a 58-ball half-century. Paras Khadka’s men had to thank Netherlands though, whose defeat of Hong Kong, meant that they will now be playing with the big boys.
There were several notable events that studded this triumph for Nepal, not least of which is the fact that their cricket board is currently suspended by the ICC. Their arrival to the World Cup qualifier was also a spectacular story, with the team claiming several nail-biting last-over finishes. A team that was in Division Five in 2008, alongside Afghanistan, have now risen to the top-tier of international cricket.
Papua New Guinea, who lost all four of their group games in the tournament prior to the consolation bracket loss to Nepal, have lost their ODI status along with Hong Kong. Both teams have now been demoted to WCL Division Two, but they do have one final chance to play an ODI (at least until 2020) – the ninth-place play-off on Saturday.
There was very little that Nepal could do wrong in this match. They won the toss and put the opposition in. Their 17-year old legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane took 4 for 28 in eight overs to break the PNG middle order and Airee knocked over the tail. With only 115 need to win, all Nepal needed was one batsman to bat around and Airee took on that responsibility, coming in at No. 4 and sealing the game with a six with 27 overs to spare.