By John L. Aaron
Team USA was today caught in the middle of a disturbance at the Tribhuvan University cricket ground, as the USA engaged Nepal in a must-win match up to advance to the ICC’s World Cricket League Division 4 Group.
From all reports, all members of the USA team, management staff and supporters present at the ground escaped injury. There were no reported incidents of any serious injury sustained by any of the some 13,000 fans present to witness the highly anticipated match involving USA 3-1 and Nepal 4-0, the front-runners among the six teams vying for the two promotional slots to Division 4.
Some reports suggest that tear gas was fired by local Nepal police and other security personnel at the ground, as rocks and other debris was hurled onto the field, interrupting play for approximately 45 minutes. The melee erupted as the USA was on target to win the match and advance, ironically along with Nepal who is unbeaten so far in the tournament.
Clearly, the Nepalese supporters on hand were not fully aware that Nepal would have advanced even if they had lost to the USA, according to dreamcricket.com’s Peter Della Penna the scene at the ground was one of mayhem, adding “It was quite scary. The players all left the field. Rocks, big ones were being thrown onto the pitch.” Adding, “Not 100% positive but I think tear gas was fired into the crowd as things got out of hand.
Della Penna covering the match live on www.dreamcricket.com stated, “I’ve never seen 12,000-13,000 people sprint out of a stadium setting so fast in my entire life. Very scary here for a good 10 minutes.”
The ICC took precautionary measures to protect the players and support staff, by removing them from the field and suspending the match as the players were removed to safety. The match resumed 45 minutes later with the scores adjusted according to the Duckworth-Lewis method, giving the USA 46 overs to score 157 runs for the victory, and needing only seven runs to do so.
The USA went on to win the match very comfortably by five wickets, following the resumption. A comprehensive match report from Lloyd Jodah will be posted later today.
Ironically, both teams at the top of the group are expected to meet tomorrow to decide the overall winner of the group, although in the interest of the safety of everyone, the ICC could conceivably conclude the tournament, declaring the USA the overall champion based on net run rate. Currently the USA and Nepal are both through with the top two net run rates listed.
Unofficially, the USA finished in first with a +1.371 NRR, Nepal second with +1.351 and Singapore third with +1.347. That tally is still to be confirmed by the ICC.
Way to go TEAM USA!