‘We want to think we are playing to qualify for Super 7’

After their painful one-run setback against South Africa, Nepal will aim to finish off on a high when they when they take on Bangladesh in their final group game of the T20 World Cup on Sunday.

It was heartbreak for Nepal in their previous game when they suffered a narrow one-run defeat against South Africa after Gulsan Jha was run out off the final ball of the game.

Head coach Monty Desai revealed that despite being out of the race he has asked the Nepal players to believe that they are still in with the chance of making it to the Super Eight when they clash against Bangladesh, who need a victory to make it to the Super 8.

Nepal, with only one point from three games, are already out of the competition but Desai wants his side to play against Bangladesh, believing they have a chance to qualify for the Super Eight.

“We are building our story, so I am not thinking about spoiling anyone else’s party. The message in the dressing room was that we still want to live in a world of imagination, where we want to believe that we crossed the line (against South Africa). We want to think that we are on three points, looking forward to Bangladesh and playing to qualify for Super Eight.

“If you can bring that mentality and fight till the end, and cross the line, at least we will go back with a proud moment of winning, and then probably think about the ifs and buts of other games. But yes, we want to put up a show,” Desai was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo rummy bo.

Kushal Bhurtel and Dipendra Singh Airee split seven wickets against South Africa, followed by Aasif Sheikh’s 42. Sandeep Lamichhane did not take a wicket in his first match back for Nepal, although he was economical. Despite this, a run-out on the last ball cost them the game and the head coach Desai wanted Nepal’s players to recover from their setback.

“This is exactly where the mental strength will be tested for a young Associate team like Nepal. 24 hours from now we will be planning, discussing and moving towards the stadium to play against Bangladesh. It is very important to remember the processes that have helped us so far,” the head coach said.

The narrative around Nepalese cricket also includes its fans. They performed in front of full houses back home, and it was no different in Dallas, Lauderhill, and Kingstown.

“I think the biggest success story of Nepal cricket is about these innocent fans. I say innocent because I am only looking at it through my lens. I know when I walk across the Tribhuvan University ground (in Kirtipur), I see so many of those Nepali fans on the banks, they might be having daily jobs, daily wages to live their life and they leave that and come to watch the game and support these young dreams.”

Desai welcomed the overwhelming support, but he also wanted them to recognise that Nepal’s growth was dependent on facing large teams and winning important games.

“They have stood with the umbrellas in the rain in the past. When we qualified [for the T20 World Cup], they were standing on the roof, they were climbing the trees. There are so many layers to the definition of ‘fans’ as the 12th man for Nepal cricket. I am sure it will be very hard right now for them to soak in their emotions. Cricket is cruel sometimes. Again, I say South Africa had already qualified, we just needed to cross the line and stay alive in this tournament,” he added.

“I urge the fans back home to keep supporting these young dreams with the limited resources, not using an excuse. I think we have taken strides. The more we get exposure against these Test nations, again another opportunity tomorrow, we’ll go to that [game] against Bangladesh, and I think we’ll be up for it. I know all it requires now in those one-ball battles is courage and that is something which we are instilling and moulding in these young dreams,” said the head coach rummybo.

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