Nepal starts buzzing as T20 World Cup kicks off

Kathmandu, June 2: The sentiment that was missing in Nepal during the past three editions of the T20 World Cup has revived as millions of Nepalis will be cheering for their own country once again on the biggest stage of T20 cricket. Nepal is taking part in the T20 World Cup for the second time; the first was in the fifth edition in 2014. 

The 9th edition of the biggest T20 cricket tournament, the ICC T20 World Cup, is kicking off today (June 2) in the United States of America (USA) with the co-host facing its neighbour Canada in the tournament opener. 

Two hours after the USA-Canada fixture kicks off at Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas, the other co-host and two-time T20 World Cup winners, the West Indies, will start their campaign against Papua New Guinea at Providence Stadium in Guyana. 

Meanwhile, Nepali fans should wait for a couple of days to see the national team in action. 

Nepal faces a regular rival, the Netherlands, on June 4 at Grand Prairie Stadium. 

The match between Afghanistan and Uganda and England and Scotland is also taking place at Providence Stadium and Kensington Oval in Barbados on the same day respectively.

Nepal debuted in the T20 World Cup when the ICC increased the number of participants in the tournament to 16, from 12, in 2014. 

Nepal had defeated Afghanistan and Hong Kong, but failed to progress to the Super 10 as Bangladesh was ahead of Nepal in net run rate.

Sompal Kami is the only Nepali player who will be playing in his second World Cup. Kami, as an emerging player, was in the World Cup squad in 2014. After gaining more experience in the past 10 years, Kami is now a major pillar of Nepal’s bowling lineup in 2024. 

The Associate members, including Nepal, had a lower hand in the 2014 T20 World Cup as eight teams, including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, had to qualify from the First Stage to finally compete against the top eight full members in Super 10.

However, Nepal is looking to defeat, or at least give tough competition to, all the opponents in this edition, which features the largest number of teams. The 9th edition is the first T20 World Cup to feature 20 teams. 

The 20 teams have been divided into four groups. 

The Netherlands and Nepal are in Group D alongside Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.

Similarly, the USA, Canada, Ireland, India, and Pakistan are in Group A; Australia, England, Namibia, Oman, and Scotland in Group B; and Afghanistan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, and the West Indies in Group C.

The top two teams from each group, after playing against each other in a single round-robin format, will qualify for the Super 8. 

In the Super 8, the top teams of Groups A and C alongside the second teams of Group B and D are included in Group 1 and the others in Group 2. The Super 8 stage will also see the group teams competing in a single round-robin format. 

Finally, the top two teams will progress to the knockout stage, aka semi-final. As several Associates have defeated full members in different editions of the World Cup, Nepal will be looking to defeat a full member for the first time as well. 

Nepal has had the chance to face a full member only at the World Cup, the other time was when Nepal qualified for the 2023 Asia Cup and faced India and Pakistan.

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