Nepal will compete in a major cricket tournament for the first time next year after qualifying for the World Twenty20 on Wednesday.
Nepal secured a berth by beating Hong Kong by five wickets on the last ball of their quarterfinal in Abu Dhabi. Needing 13 runs off the final over, the Nepalese hit a six, four, and two singles to tie the score with one ball left.
With Hong Kong packing the infield, Sharad Vesawkar hit the winning run through extra cover. Teammates ran to the pitch to celebrate.
Nepal joined Afghanistan and Ireland, who have competed in the last World T20s, in advancing to the tournament in Bangladesh in March.
Nepal interim leader Khilraj Regmi called the achievement historic, and congratulated the national team for boosting the morale of all sports in the Himalayan country.
The team is coached by former Sri Lanka test cricketer Pubudu Dassanayake, who took over in 2011 after guiding Canada to the 2011 World Cup.
A party in Kathmandu beckons when the team returns home this weekend. The last time Nepal won a tournament, the third division in the world cricket league in Bermuda in May, the team undertook a bus tour in a rally which lasted eight hours.
Qualifying for the World Twenty20 marks a natural progression for Nepal.
Nepal won the league’s fifth division in 2010, the fourth division last year, followed by the third division. The Nepalese will travel to New Zealand in January to try and qualify for the 2015 World Cup against many of the teams they have faced in the United Arab Emirates.
Nepal beat Denmark, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, the Netherlands, and Bermuda, against losses to Scotland and Afghanistan to reach the qualifying playoffs, and the win over Hong Kong put them in a semi-final against Afghanistan on Friday.
The UAE also qualified for the World Twenty20, beating the Netherlands by 10 runs to meet Ireland in the semis.
The last qualifying spots will be given on Thursday to the winners of Hong Kong-Papua New Guinea, and Netherlands-Scotland.