The Nepal Cricket Team has been awarded ODI status for the first time after the team defeated Papua New Guinea by six wickets in the World Cup Qualifiers play-off at Old Hararians Sports Club. PNG's loss means the team will now lose their ODI status alongside with Asian nation Hong Kong.
Dipendra Singh Airee and Sandeep Lamichhane's four-wicket haul put the PNG team on the backfoot as the side failed to even play out their allotted 50 overs. The team managed only 114 runs and all the batsmen were returned to the pavilion after just 27.2 overs. Airee, who won the Man of the Match award, also made a contribution in the chase as he scored 50 off 58 balls which include the winning shot that was six.
Nepal’s ODI status was dependent on the Netherlands team. When the team defeated Hong Kong by 44 runs, Nepal only needed to win their clash against PNG and to claim the ODI status and the side easily completed the mission.
In 1988, Nepal was awarded affiliate status by the ICC for the first time and in 1996, the team was promoted to Associate rank. Since then, the team worked for 22 years in the search of the ODI status. Their effort took the positive direction when they finished third in World Cricket League Division 5 in 2008. After two years, they emerged winners in Division 5. In the same year, 2010, the team also finished third in Division 4 and in 2012, they were crowned as champions.
The turning point in their journey came in 2013 when they earned a place in the World T20 Qualifier. The team made their World T20 debut along with the UAE, and Hong Kong the following year. In 2013, they emerged as a champion in Division 3 in the WCL.
In the World Cup Qualifiers, before playing against Nepal, PNG had already lost all four of their group games which forced the side to lose their ODI status along with Hong Kong and both teams now demoted to WCL Division 2.