On Sunday 4 November, nine communities took part in the Thunder Nation Cup finals at Ollie Webb Reserve in Parramatta. Competing in eight-a-side games of cricket, Nepal and Afghanistan finished top-two and secured their places in the Thunder Nation Cup final at Spotless Stadium.
Nepal progressed through the group stages undefeated with victories over Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which saw them take on Sri Lanka in the preliminary final. Sri Lanka set a modest total of 63. Nepal had a strong start to the chase before losing four wickets in three overs. With two runs required off the last eight balls, Nepal were triumphant in a last-ball win.
Captain Govind Karki was extremely pleased with his team’s performance.
“I am so proud of my team, all the players have shown great character,” Karki said.
“Everyone played their part and in the end it was a well-deserved win.”
Cricket within the Nepalese community continues to grow, with a record 17 teams playing in their Sydney-based competition.
“The Nepalese community is getting better and bigger and cricket is an integral part of it,” Karki said.
“It brings all the Nepalese people together and it means a lot to the Nepalese community.”
Afghanistan finished second in their group, behind Nepal, resulting in a more difficult path through the finals. Afghanistan were required to overcome a strong Bangladesh side before taking on the defending champions India. In an upset win, Afghanistan managed to chase down India’s total of 73 in the final over of the game.
After losing the preliminary final last year, captain of Afghanistan Nazir Shinwari is determined for his team to go one game further and knows that success in the Thunder Nation Cup can motivate the next generation of cricketers in his community.
“This year we have a young and hungry team who are all playing some great cricket,” Shinwari said.
“Many young players need more role models in their local communities and hopefully we can inspire them. It is a great honour to be playing in Thunder Nation Cup final at Spotless Stadium, all the boys have worked really hard for it.”
Nepal and Afghanistan will contest the Thunder Nation Cup final at Spotless Stadium on Tuesday 22 January 2019.