ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 was not just a tournament for Nepali cricket; it was a proud moment for the nation itself. After being struck by a massive earthquake, the whole nation was searching for something to be happy and nevertheless it was only cricket that could provide the happiness back. With an outstanding performance in previous ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier held in Bangladesh, the expectation was high from the fans.
1st game against USA
The victory made the whole nation happy; once again we all were thinking to see our team in the world cup in 2016 that was going to be held in India.
2nd game against Namibia
The hopes were high after the first victory; I was waiting for the game to start in the game day. I was excited to see our team on the big screen but we Nepalese didn’t have that good fortune to see all the game of our team. So one hand on the F5 button and watching score update was not a new thing, although the game ended as draw and I was happy to share 1 point against the fierce opponents who were dominating my team since the first ball.
3rd game against Ireland
As a part of my regular habit, once again I started and after some hours, I didn’t even have the courage to press the F5 button as our old problems of batting collapse reached to its extremes and we were all out on 53 against the might Irish attack led by Kevin O’Brien and Mooney.
Batting till the third game
Though we won the first game looking at the scorecard, we could figure out that our batting lacked something, not only in the first game till the third game against Ireland. Change in the batting order made me confuse that I wondered till the big stage our team hasn’t finalized the batting order then what they were doing there?
Game against Hong Kong
Hong Kong, a team with whom we had played for several times was not a new opponent for us. With the loss against Ireland, I was hoping for a win against Hong Kong as we had good previous results against them, but we lost the game at last. Once again the bad batting performance let us down.
Siddhant Lohani rumors
I had heard many things about a young guy Lohani from the domestic circuit to his nickname being AB De Villiers of Nepal, he was the proper batsman of T20 -T20 format, and that he had proved in the domestic game scoring the quickest century in regional game playing from Biratnagar. I was wondering why Paras Khadka was not using him; I was wondering if Paras Khadka was going to be another MSD keeping Irfan Pathan in the bench throughout the session of an IPL tournament. I was desperately waiting to see him in the team, as after many years a new face was going to be introduced in the team.
Nepal v Papua New Guinea
The first live telecast of our team was coming and guess what would have been my situation, it was my day and we all were waiting and happy to see our team fight. I was at the college waiting for the game, fortunately it was my computer class, so I could see a small part of the game online. When I saw Pradeep Airee on fire, I thought something was going to be right with our new batting order but that dream didn’t last for a long time as after Pradeep Airee was dismissed , our batting collapsed once again.
Weakness I see in captain
I am a great fan of Paras Khadka but I was disappointed as why he was not giving chance to Siddhant as the tournament was now just a formality for us, it was a great mystery for all cricket fans watching our weakest performance since many years.
The Last game against Jersey
At the pre-match interview when I heard our coach Pubudu Dassanayake saying, “Today we are going to play a T20 specialist Siddhant Lohani”, I was happy and desperate to watch him.
Here comes my hero Siddhanth Lohani
When all the batsmen failed and top order were finding hard to cross the score of 25, Gyanendra Malla was playing sensible but I saw him like playing a test match, Lohani entered the field as the 7th wicket in the ICC T20 qualifier match against Jersey, I saw a young man entering the field in a pressure situation, I desperately wanted him to perform as I was impressed by his game in regional games. When all senior batsmen were finding hard to connect their bat with the ball, this guy slammed a great four. These were my screen showing me:
15.5: Perchard to Lohani, FOUR, loopy slower ball outside off, he slices it hard and gets it into the gap.
This four made me emotional as the player that I wanted to see has done something for the team, I stood up and gave him a standing obviation because that 4 was a 4 for a youngster who was not trusted before. Moments gather together and we forgot that we were just outplayed by some outstanding fielding and bowling of New Jersey.
17.1: Perchard to Lohani, FOUR, slower ball outside off and that’s too much width when you have a point and a third man inside the circle. Lohani gets down low, front leg out of the way, and plays it away into the gap between the two fielders.
A typical De Villiers shot I was feeling proud because in our country cricket was just growing, and when we were taught the basics of cricket with the traditional method, this guy did something extraordinary work, once again I stood up and gave him a standing obviation. After what I witnessed is a part of history now in Nepali cricket.
18.5: Stevens to Lohani, SIX, full toss, and that is clubbed away over the boundary to the right of deep midwicket. He took up position outside off, waiting like AB de Villiers, shaping for the lap sweep, and then came back to an orthodox position to play the shot.
When commentators compared him with Ms. Dhoni, I was too happy as this shot made commentators up to their seat.
Nepal lost the game, but we all got something to cheer about that was this young guy Siddhant Lohani.