T20 World Cup: Nepal eye good show against Bangladesh, says head coach Desai

Kingstown, June 16 (IANS) Ahead of Nepal’s final match of the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup, head coach Monty Desai said his side is eager to put up a show against Bangladesh at the Arnos Vale Stadium.

Nepal were knocked out of the race to Super Eights after suffering a heartbreaking one-run defeat to South Africa and now face Bangladesh, who are in contention to grab the second and last Super Eight spot from Group D alongside the Netherlands, who are facing Sri Lanka.

“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 (on Friday).

“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, 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,” said Desai in the pre-match press conference.

Desai also admitted that he’s still soaking in the emotions of Nepal running South Africa real close in that nail-biting Group D game and believes their return to T20 World Cup fold after a decade will help in progression of cricket in the country.

“It’s very interesting, as when you don’t cross the line, it’s always seen as a team which has not been successful. But with the Associate team like Nepal who has never played against South Africa, if I had to only speak like a fan from outside, I know that they are capable more than that.

“But just as a fan who loves the game, I would say Nepal definitely have left their footprints with that game and to let the Test nations and world cricket know that they belong here. I have a strong belief in this class of the players who have come together.

“I know the numbers don’t match the professional numbers of battles of Test teams or well-established teams. But I strongly believe that when you talk about something which never changed previously, this will go down as something will change forever for Nepal,” he elaborated.

A heartwarming sight in the T20 World Cup has been the outpouring of Nepal fans and supporting the side in huge numbers at Dallas, Lauderhill and Kingstown. Desai appreciated the massive support for the team from the passionate fans, but added that Nepal’s future progression is down to them playing against big teams and winning big moments consistently.

“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.”

“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. 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,” he concluded.



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