Giant leap

The country’s budding cricketers have brought joy and pride to this conflict-torn nation by winning the ICC World Cup Under-19 Plate Championship the other day in Colombo, Sri Lanka, by beating New Zealand by one wicket. Nepal successfully chased New Zealand’s total of 204/9 in 49.4 overs. Basanta Regmi’s all-round performance — 66 runs in 74 balls and three wickets— together with Ratan Rauniyar and Raj Shrestha’s partnership in the end, which gave Nepal the crucial 29 runs lead to the victory. The team deserves acclaim for their hard work and tireless effort during the entire Championship. This is a tremendous achievement for the national team in the sense that it won against two great test-playing nations — South Africa and New Zealand. The team had earlier pulled off a thrilling three-runs win over South Africa in the semi-finals on February 16.

Last time, Nepal reached the Plate final in New Zealand in 2002, but lost to Zimbabwe by 137 runs. Thus the triumph this time has brought untold jubilation to the Nepali fans and the excited players since it would prove vital in boosting the team’s morale, mainly in providing the much-needed impetus to qualify for the finals of the ICC Championship itself. Unfortunately, this year too, Nepal could not play in the finals of the prestigious ICC U-19 Championship Cup. The Plate Championship is played amongst the eight out of 16 teams not qualifying for the Cup. The cricketers should take the success as an inspiration to do better in future and to ultimately bring back home the dream Cup. Meanwhile, the sports authorities should focus on providing the players with state-of-the-art training facilities. The U-19 team’s excellent performance this time has proved that Nepali players have the potential to put a mark in certain disciplines in the international arena, and with little more support from the state they can bring laurels for the nation. It is thus time to channelise positive energy to what the nation is capable of truly achieving.