Asia Cup qualifier: How Nepal came to be in the 2023 tournament 

The 16th edition of the Asia Cup is scheduled to start on August 30, and will be played in the 50-over format.

Nepal will participate after making it through from the Asia Cup Qualifier for the first time, but if you want to know how they reached the 2023 tournament, we have got you covered here. 

Before we go into the details of Nepal's road to the Asia Cup, let's talk some about the upcoming tournament.

The 2023 Asia Cup will act as a great preparation stage for the teams ahead of the ODI World Cup, which will be played later in October and November. Sri Lanka are the defending champions, having won the previous edition which was played in the T20 format. 

Also Read: Best India vs Pakistan matches in Asia Cup history

The 2023 Asia Cup will be jointly hosted by Sri Lanka and Pakistan, marking it the first instance of the Asia Cup to be co-hosted by multiple countries.  Pakistan will host four matches while the remaining nine matches will be played in Sri Lanka.

The 2023 edition of the Asia Cup will have six teams – namely Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal – compete for the trophy. The first five teams are the full members of the Asian Cricket Council and had direct entry into the tournament while Nepal had to go through a qualifying round. 

Men's Premier Cup 2023 for Asia Cup Qualifier

The inaugural edition of the ACC Men's Premier Cup was held earlier this year in April to determine the sixth participant in the Asia Cup. The winner of the Asia Cup qualifier, Nepal, qualified for the Asia Cup while the top three teams also reached the Emerging Teams Asia Cup tournament. 

The Men's Premier Cup had 10 teams from Asia split into two groups. Nepal were grouped with Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The other group comprised Bahrain, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. 

Asia Cup Qualifier: Nepal's road in the 2023 tournament 

Nepal had an outstanding campaign in the Men's Premier Cup, where they went unbeaten to clinch the trophy. They topped Group A with seven points, winning three games and one fixture against Saudi Arabia getting abandoned. 

Nepal defeated Malaysia by six wickets in their opening game. Sompal Kami and Sandeep Lamichhane starred for Nepal with the ball. Kami bagged 3 for 40 in his nine overs while Lamichhane picked 3 for 48 in his full quota to restrict the opponents to 235.

Bhim Sharki scored 71 runs in 98 deliveries with Kushal Malla smashing an unbeaten 70 off just 40 as they chased down the target with 86 balls to spare.

Asia Cup Qualifier

Nepal followed it up with an 84-run hammering of Oman in the second group match. They batted first in this game and had an awful start, losing both the openers with no runs on the board in 3.4 overs.

They were 72/4 before Kushal Malla took charge of the situation. He scored a stunning 108 off just 68 balls to help his side recover. Sompal Kami later made 63 not-out in 48 balls to push the total to 310. Sandeep Lamichhane and Karan KC snared three wickets each to register a comfortable victory.

Following the abandoned game, Nepal beat Qatar in the final group fixture to reach the semifinals.

This was a low-scoring game as batters from both sides had a tough day. Batting first, Nepal did not get any partnerships going and were 111/9 at one point. Lamichhane came to the rescue with 42 not-out to push the score to 157.

Kami picked 3 for 24 while Lalit Rajbanshi bagged two scalps. Lamichhane finished things off with a terrific spell of 5 for 14. 

Their semifinal against Kuwait in the Asia Cup Qualifier ended in a no result due to rain, although Nepal were firmly in control of the match.

Rohit Paudel scored a superb 94 with Kushal Malla also blasting 57 off 44. They posted a strong total of 281 in 42 overs. Karan KC ran through the Kuwait batting unit with 5 for 10 in 8.3 overs.

When the rain stopped play, Nepal had reduced Kuwait to 37/6 in 8.3 but the match was called off. Nepal advanced through to the final by virtue of being the top placed team from Group A.

The final against the United Arab Emirates was a one-sided affair, with Nepal winning by seven wickets and with 117 balls to spare

. Lalit Rajbanshi was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 4 for 14 whereas Lamichhane and Karan KC had two wickets each. Chasing 118 wasn't straightforward as Nepal lost 3 for 22 in eight overs.

Gulsan Jha was excellent with the bat, scoring 67 off 84 and added an unbroken 96-run stand with Bhim Sharki to clinch the title. 

DateOpponent ResultVenue
April 18, 2023MalaysiaWon by six wickets Kirtipur
April 21, 2023OmanWon by 84 runsKirtipur
April 24, 2023Saudi Arabia Abandoned Mulpani
April 27, 2023QatarWon by 68 runsKirtipur
April 29, 2023Semifinal – Kuwait No ResultKirtipur
May 1-2, 2023Final – United Arab EmiratesWon by seven wicketsKirtipur

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