Only UAE stand in the way of a never-before-seen turnaround from Nepal, who are now just one win away from claiming an automatic spot for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier via League 2.
Limping in second-last as recently as early February, and with little hope of progressing on the path to Cricket World Cup 2023, Nepal have gone on to win 10 of their last 11 matches, moving them to fourth (38 points), a point behind Namibia (39), with one match to play.
A win on Thursday would move Rohit Paudel’s men past Namibia into third, claiming the last automatic spot at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier and consigning Namibia to a Qualifier Playoff, a repechage tournament where they would have to finish in the top two to continue their run towards the global tournament.
Nepal’s dramatic change in form coincides with the appointment of Monty Desai as head coach. The former Canada head coach and West Indies batting coach has been in the job just 38 days, though has overseen a transformative change for the Nepalis, particularly with the bat.
The side have posted three of their top four and four of top six ODI totals with Desai at the helm, and have been unbeaten at home in the run, with their only defeat to UAE on a slow Dubai International Cricket Stadium surface on 2 March.
It’s Muhammad Waseem’s men who again stand in the way of Nepal’s fairytale ending, though the Emiratis have been in patchy form, and are rank outsiders in the meeting at the Tribhuvan University Ground.
The match will be crucial for UAE ahead of the Qualifier Playoff, with their sixth-place finish in League 2 meaning their ODI status and participation in the next League 2 cycle for the 2027 Cricket World Cup is in jeopardy.
Should two teams out of PNG (seventh in League 2), Canada (winners of Challenge League Group A) or Jersey (winners of Challenge League Group B) finish above UAE, the Emiratis will move to the Challenge League, a tier below in the one-day framework.
Nepal’s Run Home in League 2 (most recent first)
Nepal defeated PNG by 9 wickets, Kirtipur, 13 March 2023
Nepal defeated UAE by 177 runs, Kirtipur, 12 March 2023
Nepal defeated PNG by 52 runs, Kirtipur, 9 March 2023
Nepal defeated Nepal by 42 runs, Dubai, 6 March 2023
Nepal defeated PNG by 3 wickets, Dubai, 3 March 2023
Nepal lost to UAE by 68 runs, Dubai, 2 March 2023
Nepal defeated PNG by 4 wickets, Dubai, 27 February 2023
Nepal defeated Scotland by 2 wickets, Kirtipur, 21 February 2023
Nepal defeated Namibia by 3 wickets, Kirtipur, 18 February 2023
Nepal defeated Scotland by 3 wickets, Kirtipur, 17 February 2023
Nepal defeated Namibia by 2 wickets, Kirtipur, 14 February 2023
How to watch on ICC.tv
Every ball of the Cricket World Cup League 2 ODIs will be live and FREE on ICC.tv.
Fans in the ALL regions (other than Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan) can watch League 2 matches LIVE on ICC.tv on:
* ICC.tv website
* ICC.tv mobile apps (available in the App Store and Google Play)
* Samsung TV and LG TV apps
Highlights of League 2 ODIs are also available on-demand for FREE on ICC.tv.