Nepal crowned ICC World Cricket League III champions

Kathmandu, May 6-  Nepal beat Uganda by five wickets in the finals of the ICC World Cricket league Division III in a match played at the National Sports Stadium in Bermuda on Sunday, thanks to two half centuries from opener Pradeep Airee (60) and Sharad Vesawkar (50*).

Nepal and Uganda now advance to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be held in New Zealand in January 2014. The two sides will compete with eight other leading Associate and Affiliate sides for the final two positions in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Nepali spinner Shakti Gauchan bowls to a Uganda batsman during the final of the ICC World Cricket League Division III in Bermuda, on May 5, 2013. Photo:Kageaki Smith/ ICC

Chasing a target of 152 runs, Nepal exceeded its target in the 40th over. Henry Senyondo took two wickets for Uganda, including that of the top scorer, Airee. Earlier in the day, Uganda lost key run getter Arthur Kyobe in the fifth over with the scoreboard on five. The middle order steadied the ship and lifted the run rate to help the side reach 151 for eight from its 50 overs.

Left-arm spinner Basant Regmi, who took five wickets in last year’s final of WCL Division 4 against USA, and Rahul Vishwakarma, took two wickets apiece, while Nepal’s Airee was adjudged man of the match.

Surrounded by a small group of excited fans, elated Nepal captain Paras Khadka said the win felt unbelievable. “We worked really hard for it. And having lost the first couple of games no one gave us an outright chance but we still believed in ourselves and our ability. Everything worked in favour of us and, as they say, fortune favours the brave. I feel glad. We have reached where we always wanted to, and now it is a matter of preparing ourselves even better. If we prepare really well, things are looking in good shape for us.”

With the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier only eight months away, the skipper says his side will remain focused. “Before the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, we have the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in November in Dubai and that’s an equally important tournament.

“I think preparation-wise, we have to have a strategic plan from now on because it is a big step – one more step and you are in the ICC Cricket World Cup. So we have to think in that perspective and hopefully, if we can get things right back home, and play against good teams and quality opponents, that’s how you develop as a player and prepare.”

Uganda captain Davis Arinaitwe was still proud of his side’s achievements. “Qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier was our primary objective when we got here, we first put our sights on trying to qualify for that tournament, so I felt that for us, that is an achievement that we can take back home.

“Ideally, I would have liked to finish the tournament on a high and pick up the final trophy of the whole tournament, and leave this beautiful island as WCL winners. But on this day I thought we were not lucky in the field. I thought the Nepal batsmen batted pretty well.”

Arinaitwe says his team will now switch its focus to the two upcoming global qualification events: “I think we’ll get back home, take a short break, then resume the training as usual as we try to prepare for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in November and then the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier as well.”

Meanwhile, USA overcame a shaky start to post a healthy 271 against Bermuda at St. David’s to win the third-place play off.

Score in brief:

At National Sports Stadium

Uganda 151 for eight, 50 overs (Muhumuza 28, Sematimba 27, Arinaitwe 23; B Regmi 2-24)

Nepal 153 for five, 39.2 overs (Airee 60, Vesawkar 50; Senyondo 2-29)

Nepal won by 5 wickets (with 64 balls remaining)

Player of the Match: Pradeep Airee (Nepal)

The final rankings of the WCL Division 3 are as follows:

1st – Nepal

2nd – Uganda

3rd – USA

4th – Bermuda

5th – Oman

6th – Italy

Player of the tournament: Davis Arinaitwe (Uganda)