Thousands of fans turned up to watch Nepal play their first-ever official one-day international (ODI) on home soil in Kathmandu on Wednesday but Oman spoiled the party as they won by 18 runs.
It was the first of six matches in a tri-series that also includes the United States at the Kirtipur Cricket Ground, which was packed on a special day for the Himalayan nation.
Put into bat by Nepal, Oman scored 197 for nine in their 50 overs, with middle-order batsman Mohammad Nadeem anchoring the innings and finishing with a patient 69 not out off 96 balls.
Nepal were all out for 179 despite late heroics by Sandeep Lamichhane after Sharad Vesawkar scored 55 at the top of the order. Lamichhane’s cameo had the fans on their feet as he hit three boundaries and a six before falling for 28 off 27 balls.
Nepal’s 29-year-old captain and batsman Gyanendra Malla had spoken about what a proud moment it would be for his country to host an ODI recognized by the International Cricket Council.
“When we started playing cricket, everybody wanted to get ODI status and get big cricket over here,” Malla had told ESPNcricinfo here earlier this week.
“Finally, one-dayers are here in Kathmandu, one of my favorite venues. The first ODI home series, that’s one of the proudest moments for me as a captain.”
Lamichhane, the first Nepalese picked up at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in 2018 when he signed for the Delhi Capitals, hopes they will one day play test cricket.
“I have a dream to play test cricket for Nepal and every little contribution from my side will go for Nepal cricket,” the 19-year-old had said. “Till the day of retirement of my cricket career, I would like to play test cricket for Nepal.”