KATHMANDU: Nepal made it to the ACC Trophy Elite Cup semi-finals even before playing their last Group A match against Kuwait after Oman defeated the hosts at the Unity grounds in Kuwait today.
Nepal, who are top of the table with three wins in as many matches, are scheduled to play Kuwait in their last Group A match on Tuesday. The other two semi-final contenders -- Oman and Hong Kong -- have four points each from three matches but the two teams play each other the same day Nepal play the hosts, meaning only one of the two teams can reach six points. Irrespective of Nepal vs Kuwait result, Nepal are assured of a semi-final berth even if they lose on Tuesday. Kuwait and Singapore are out of the competition.
Meanwhile, Nepali cricket team's vice-captain will join the team after he was finally granted the visa. Gyanendra, whose application for the visa was rejected thrice, missed the first three league matches and was replaced by reserve player Naresh Budhayer. According to the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) Secretary and Spokesperson Tarak Mani Dixit, CAN was lobbying for Gyanendra's visa approval through the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
"We have been informing Kuwaiti government officials about the importance of Gyanendra and his role in the team. The CAN President Binaya Raj Pandey have been repeatedly requesting for Gyanendra's visa approval through the ACC," informed Dixit. According to Dixit, Naresh will remain with the team.