T20 World Cup Team Preview: Nepal

Nepal return to the T20 World Cup for their second appearance, after 10 years. A passionate fanbase holds high expectations of The Rhinos

Nepal celebrate a wicket on the way to a victory in the fifth T20 against West Indies A
Nepal celebrate a wicket on the way to a victory in the fifth T20 against West Indies A

The Nepal national cricket team, “The Rhinos”, have become a formidable force in  associate cricket, and boasts one of the most passionate fan bases in the sport worldwide. In 2023, Nepal won the ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year Award for the Asia region, highlighting its effective use of digital platforms to connect with and grow its fan base. This accolade reflects the team’s popularity and the passion of its supporters, who have played a crucial role in elevating the profile of Nepalese cricket on the international stage.

Nepal’s national cricket team has qualified for its second T20 World Cup after a decade, marking a significant achievement in its cricketing history. The 2014 T20 World Cup, held in Bangladesh, was Nepal’s first World Cup, and the team put on an inspiring performance. They nearly qualified for the Super 10 stage, where the hosts, Bangladesh, edged past Nepal based on a superior net run rate. Paras Khadka’s side put up a fantastic fight, comfortably beating Hong Kong in the opening match of their World Cup campaign. The Rhinos played with their hearts out and secured their much-awaited victory against Afghanistan. They beat Afghanistan for the first time in a decade, taking a significant step towards the Super 10 stage.  However, the hosts, Bangladesh, emerged as a hindrance by comfortably defeating Nepal and qualifying for the Super 10 stage based on their superior net run rate.

2023 was a milestone year for Nepalese cricket, filled with remarkable achievements. They performed exceptionally, winning 11 out of their 12 remaining matches in CWC league-2 to qualify for the 2023 ODI World Cup Global Qualifier. Moreover, they hosted the ACC Emerging Cup on their home soil and emerged victorious against their arch-rival, UAE, in the final to qualify for their maiden Asia Cup.

Finally, the regional final of the 2023 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was held in Nepal, where the two finalists, Nepal and Oman, secured their spots for the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. These achievements are a testament to the team’s hard work and dedication, setting the stage for an exciting future.


Tuesday, 4 June, Vs Netherlands, Grand Prairie Stadium

Wednesday, 12 June, Vs Sri Lanka, Central Broward Regional Park

Saturday, 15 June, Vs South Africa, Arnos Vale Stadium

Monday, 17 June, Vs Bangladesh, Arnos Vale Stadium

Key Players

Nepal’s T20 specialist, Dipendra Singh Airee, smashed six sixes in an over during a recent Asia Cup T20 Qualifier held in Oman. He’s a player to watch in the upcoming T20 World Cup. Airee is one of the best fielders in the world and is also known as a three-dimensional cricketer, averaging 36 with the bat and 21 with the ball. Additionally, Airee holds the record for the fastest T20I fifty, having smacked a 9-ball 50 in the Asian Games against Mongolia.

Rohit Paudel, the Nepalese captain, is another player to watch. He seems to be in the form of his life. In a recent 5-match T20 series against West Indies A, Paudel hammered a blistering century and two fifties, earning the Player of the Series title. He averages 33.5 in T20 cricket.

Form Guide

The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) played an important role by providing the team with over 40 T20 matches within a span of eight months. During this period, Nepal played several T20 series against some quality sides. The Irish A and West Indies A teams toured Nepal for the first time. Additionally, a month before the tournament, the team flew to the US to adapt to overseas conditions and played a few preparatory matches against local teams.

The major concern for the Nepal team is their opening pair, particularly their stylish opener, Kushal Bhurtel, who is currently experiencing a poor run of form. Nepal has struggled to establish a solid opening partnership in recent matches. Additionally, death bowling is a significant issue for the Nepalese side, as their bowlers have been consistently leaking runs in the final overs. In their last warm-up match against Canada, Nepali bowlers conceded 51 runs in the last three overs, resulting in a 63-run loss. Similarly, they also struggled in the death overs during the West Indies A series, where they tried several bowlers to handle the final overs, but none were effective.


The global cricket community is undoubtedly watching Nepal due to its recent performances in the Asia Cup and Asian Games. Placed in Group D, the ‘group of death’, the Nepalese cricket team must perform extraordinarily to qualify for the Super 10 stage. Their opening game against the Dutch side will set the tempo for their campaign on the global stage. While Nepal has yet to defeat a Test nation, it is only a matter of time before they achieve this milestone.

If they play their best cricket, Nepal might upset a Test nation like Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s form is a concern, as they recently lost a series against the USA and have a relatively young side. Practically speaking, it will be tough for Nepal to defeat the formidable teams of South Africa and Sri Lanka. However, Nepal’s fielding is top-notch, and they are disciplined in both the bowling and batting departments. They will certainly put up a fight against every team they face.


Rohit Paudel (c), Aasif Sheikh, Kushal Bhurtel, Anil Sah, Sundeep Jora, Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gulshan Jha, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi, Sagar Dhakal, Pratish GC, Kamal Singh Airee, Abinash Bohora.

Coach: Monty Desai

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