The World Cricket League Division 5 match in Kathmandu between Nepal and USA today was halted for 45 minutes when serious rioting broke out in the crowd as Nepal was about to be defeated by USA and thus miss out on promotion to Division 4 on nett run rate behind the USA and Singapore.
ICC officials decided to restart the match and, at the same time, reduce the match to a 46 over match. The effect of that reduction was to inflict a gross injustice on Singapore who, no matter what the result of the match between Nepal and USA, was previously destined for at least second place in the table. However, the reduction of just 6 runs in the Nepal total meant that their run rate got a sudden but significant boost which carried it just above that of Singapore.
The question that needs to be answered publically by ICC is why Nepal was allowed to gain so palpably from the actions of its own crowd and thus rob Singapore of its rightful place in Division 4. As things stand, the whole competition appears to have been brought into disrepute by today's sad events and the validity of its outcome is open to serious question.
As for the riot itself, it has been played down in official media releases. However, it is best described by this excerpt from Peter Della Penna's live commentary from the ground on his excellent American cricket website Dreamcricket.com.
USA 150/5 in 32 overs. 13 needed to win.
Fans heading out of the ground in droves as a riot is about to break out. The riot police are trying to keep fans from coming onto the field. Mayhem here. Absolute mayhem and it's quite scary. The players have all left the field. Rocks, big ones are being thrown onto the pitch. Not 100% positive but I think tear gas was fired into the crowd as things got out of hand.
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. Things are settling down somewhat now. There are rocks everywhere on the field. Both teams were rushed into their dressing rooms.
We've had about a 35 minute delay here as riot police have been trying to get things under control. I had to leave my computer as the media tent cleared out fearing we were about to be in the line of fire from rocks that were being heaved over the fence by angry fans.
There's about 4,000-5,000 people of the 12,000 still hanging around the fringes of the ground. Everyone is towards the top of the hill now, well away from the fences as it appeared riot police were firing tear gas into the crowd. I can't confirm that though as it was so hectic and I was trying to look out for myself as well as get my camera and my Flip video recorder to document it all.
ICC Media Representative Lucy Benjamin spoke to me just now and said they will wait in a delay before making a final decision on whether or not to bring the players back out to continue or to award the match to USA. Members of the local media as well as riot police were taking wheelbarrows around the ground just now, picking up all the rocks and stones and other objects that were being hurled onto the field.
This is an absolutely surreal and bizarre scene here at Tribhuvan University. USA is on course to win. Once USA gets past the target, if they are even able to resume, these two teams will rematch on the very same ground tomorrow for the 1st/2nd place championship game. Today was a work day, I can't imagine what the crowd will be like on Saturday tomorrow when it is a weekend/off day for the local workers.
After about a 45 minute delay, the players are back on the field. The innings has been reduced to 46 overs. The target is revised to 157, USA needs 7 to win with 14 overs remaining. Nadkarni on 55, Thyagarajan on 11.