Nepal captain Raju Rijal led from the front with a composed 65-ball 48 and put on 61 runs for the fifth wicket with Aarif Sheikh. It was Nepal’s second win over New Zealand and seventh overall against a Test playing nation. Nepal had defeated the junior Black Caps by one wicket to win the Plate Championship final in 2006. It was Nepal’s first victory over a Test playing nation since they humbled Zimbabwe by 99 runs in the 2008 Plate quarter-finals. Once given a moniker of ‘giant killers’ in the wake of a string of stunning results against big guns like South African (twice), Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, off late Nepal have been struggling even to qualify for the World Cup. They'dmissed out on the 2010 edition and finished 13th in 2012 before failing to qualify for the 2014 event. While Afghanistan, Fiji, Canada, Namibia and Scotland made it to the finals as champions among non-Test playing teams from their respective regions, Nepal needed to win the Global Qualifiers to secure the last available berth in the 16-team event in Bangladesh. But with Thursday’s win, Nepal have not only reclaimed the ‘giant killers’ tag but also opened a chance to enter the second round.
Nepal will play Ireland in their next game in Group D which also features three-times U-19 champions India. Current Nepal national team skipper Paras Khadka, who was part of the team that defeated New Zealand in 2006 Plate Final, was as excited as the rest of the country by Nepalis’latest exploit. “We are back with what we were known for in U-19 cricket. It proves we have inherent cricketing talent which can do wonders provided there are exposures and opportunities,” said Khadka. “It’s an amazing feeling to beat a Test nation because we cannot be compared with them in terms of infrastructure and resources. The boys have given a massive start to the tournament but there is still a long way to go,” he added.
Major international wins
2002 Defeat Pakistan by 30 runs (Group Stage)
Defeat Bangladesh by 23 runs (Plate Semi-finals)
2004 Defeat South Africa by one wicket (Group Stage)
2006 Defeat South Africa by two runs (Plate Semi-finals)
Defeat New Zealand by one wicket (Plate Final)
2008 Defeat Zimbabwe by 99 runs (Plate Quarter-finals)
2016 Defeat New Zealand by 32 runs (Group Stage)