Cricket was introduced to Nepal by the ruling Rana Dynasty when they returned from studies in England in the 1920s, though the game was kept very much for themselves and the other elite. The Cricket Association Of Nepal was formed in 1946 to promote cricket amongst the aristocracy.
When Nepali people overthrew the Rana family in 1951, cricket began to spread to the rest of the population. In 1961 the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) became part of the National Sports Council, to attempt to promote cricket in the whole of Nepal, though this tended to be limited to Kathmandu until the 1980s.
Improvements to the communication and transport infrastructures in Nepal allowed the game to expand outside Kathmandu in the 1980s and Nepal became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 1988. A major development programme was begun in the early 1990s, with regional and district tournaments established and cricket being promoted in schools.
The interest in cricket increased quickly, and demand to play was such that teams in tournaments had to be restricted until more facilities were built in the mid-1990s. Nepal became an associate member of the International Cricket Council in 1996, which was the year the national side played for the first time, in the ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur, in which Nepal finished fourth out of six teams in their first round group, beating Brunei and Japan
The facilities in Nepal had improved enough by 1998 to allow them to host that year’s ACC Trophy at grounds in Lalitpur and Kirtipur (at Tribhuwan University) and Kathmandu. Nepal themselves were unsuccessful in the tournament, going without a win.
In 2000, Nepal’s youth development policy began to pay off when the Nepal Under 19 Team finished eighth in the Under-19 World Cup. The senior side had their best performance to date later in the year when they reached the semi-finals of the ACC Trophy before losing to Hongkong at Sharjah. They competed in the ICC Trophy for the first and, to date, only time the following year. In the tournament in Ontario, they beat Germany and Gibraltar, but a loss to eventual runners-up Namibia prevented them from progressing past the first round.
In 2002, Nepal were runners-up to the UAE in the ACC Trophy in Singapore and they hosted the ACC Emerging Nations Tournament in 2003, winning easily against Bhutan and the Maldives. They won so comprehensively that they were not invited back to the tournament the next time it was played in 2005.
Nepal played first class cricket for the first time in 2004, playing in the ICC Inter-Continental Cup against the UAE and Malaysia. They beat Malaysia, but drew with the UAE, failing to reach the semi-final stage. They finished third in the ACC Fast Track Nations Tournament during 2004, which qualified them for the 2005 ICC Inter-Continental Cup and finished 5th in the ACC Trophy, which qualified them for the reputed tournament of the 2005 ICC Trophy. They finished third in this tournament after beating Qatar in a play-off, meaning that they did not qualify for the 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland. They beat the UAE and drew with Hong Kong in the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup, but missed out on qualification for the semi-finals by half a point. They were runners-up to the UAE in the 2005 ACC Fast Track Nations Tournament.
In 2006 ACC Trophy, Nepal came against Myanmar, where Myanmar were bowled out for just 10 off 10.1 overs after losing the toss and being sent in; no batsman scored more than one, the innings included five ducks, and extras top scored with five (three leg byes and two wides). Nepal hit three off the first ball, followed by three wides that went for five, and then hit another three from the second legitimate delivery to win by ten wickets. Some critics called it the greatest mismatch in the history of international cricket,and the score of 10 is the lowest in any level of men’s international cricket.
In March 2006, Nepal played Namibia in Windhoek in a play-off match to decide the final team in the 2006 ICC Inter-continental Cup. Needing to win outright to qualify for the main tournament, the match was drawn after there was no play on the first day. Later in the year, they toured Pakistan, playing against the Pakistan Cricket Academy before playing in the ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur. They finished fourth in the tournament after losing to Afghanistan in a play-off. They won the first ACC Premier League in 2006. They most recently played in the ACC T-20 Cup in Kuwait, where they finished fourth in their first round group.
In May 2008, Nepal travelled to Jersey to play in Division-5 of the World Cricket League. Although Nepal topped Group A after the group qualifying matches, they lost their semi-final to Afghanistan and finished third overall after defeating the USA in a playoff. With only the top two from this tournament qualifying for Division-4 in Tanzania later in the year, Nepal missed out on the chance to take their 2011 World Cup dream any further.
Nepal won their first major tournament beating USA in the final of World Cricket League Division Five held at Kathmandu in February 2010.They then came 3rd in 2010 ICC World Cricket League Division Four,thus remaining for 2012 ICC World Cricket League Division Four.
While in 2012 ICC World Cricket League Division Four Subhash Khakural and Anil Mandal both scored over 100 runs. Subhash Khakural scoring 115 of 142 Balls against United States and Anil Mandal scored 113 in 134 balls against Denmark.In that match Nepal won all the five matches and got five man of the match award along with Basanta Regmi grabbed the player of the tournament. Nepal being the winner of the 2012 ICC World Cricket League Division Four Nepal progress to division third and the division third will be held later in March 2013.
After a thrilling tied final in Sharjah Cricket Stadium, UAE on 12 October 2012, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates shared the 2012 ACC Trophy Elite. This is Nepal’s greatest achievement till date in cricket. Saqib Ali led UAE’s recovery from 24 for 3 to help them post 241, a target that looked in Nepal’s sight after their 94-run opening stand. However, they kept losing wickets consistently, and eventually needed 12 off the last over with just two wickets in hand. Shakti Gauchan, who had taken three wickets earlier, smacked Shadeep Silva’s left-arm for a six, but could manage only one run off the last ball, hence ending a splendid final match in a tie.
The Winners of Trophy Nepal and UAE along with 3rd Ranked Afghanistan will play an ACC Emerging Nation tournament with “A” teams of the 4 test nations- Bangladesh, India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka along with the hosts Singapore. This tournament will be held around June–July 2013. Many expected the finalists to be playing in the Asia Cup but as per ACC till 2014 the tournament will remain as 4 nation closed shop because of the busy schedule of the Test Nations.
Nepal also competed in 2013 ACC Twenty20 Cup held at home-grounds in Kirtipur and Lalitpur. Nepal easily marched towards the final of the tournament with high class performance from Captain Paras Khadka and the team, thrashing UAE by 6 wickets in 19.1 overs before restricting them to 133/9 in the Semi-finals held at Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground, Kirtipur. Nepal had earlier qualified for 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, reaching the Semi-final of the tournament, to be organized in UAE in October 2013. Nepal played Afghanistan in the final on 3 April 2013, which Nepal had to satisfy with a runners-up status after losing to an ODI status Afghan team by 7 wickets with 13 balls to spare for the target of 136 runs. Nepali cricket team was supported by a huge fan following throughout this tournament with average turnout of more than 11,000 crowds (more than 20,000 in Semi-final and final) during their matches while hundreds of thousands watching live in Television, which could possibly be the largest fan followers of cricket beside the Test playing nations. Nepal won the 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Three held in Bermuda and qualified 2014 Cricket World Cup Qualifier which will be held in New Zealand in January, 2014. Nepal finished third in 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier held in UAE. Thousands of Nepalese fans turned out at the stadiums to witness their heroes playing, throughout this tournament. Nepal had earlier qualified for 2014 ICC World Twenty20 which will be held in Bangladesh in March, 2014, defeating Hong Kong in the last ball of the thrilling Quarter-final of the tournament. This qualification is the greatest achievement in the history of Nepali Cricket.