Nepal take on Ireland today

- Post Reoprt, Kathmandu

Jan 30, 2016-

With eyes firmly set on the quarter-final spot, Nepal are taking on Associate rivals Ireland in their second Group ‘D’ match of the ICC U-19 World Cup in Fatullah on Saturday.

Nepal are tied on two points with India but the latter lead the standings on net run rate. In another match on Saturday three-time champions India take on New Zealand. A victory for both India and Nepal would mean quarter-final spots for the two Asian teams.

Nepal came into the tournament defeating Ireland twice in the U-19 World Cup Qualifiers in Malaysia last year. They have a 4-1 edge over the Irish having beaten them in the 2006 U-19 World Cup and 2011 Global Qualifiers. Nepal’s only loss came during the 2012 U-19 World Cup in Australia.

Irrespective of their recent success against Ireland and Thursday’s emphatic win over New Zealand, Nepal coach Jagat Tamatta wants his boys to play with more determination. “We beat Ireland twice but that doesn’t mean we are going to take them lightly,” said Tamatta. “Our boys played well against New Zealand and I want them to play even better on Saturday. We can inch closer to meeting our target of reaching the second round by defeating Ireland. So we will remain focused,” said the coach who on Thursday became the first Nepali coach to taste victory against a junior team from Test-playing nation.

Nepal once again pin hopes on their opening pair Sunil Dhamala and Sandeep Sunar, who had forged a record 170-run partnership against Ireland in their eight-wicket victory in Malaysia in October last year. Dhamala and Sunar had given Nepal a modest 39-run stand against New Zealand and a repeat of that performance could be crucial for them.

Nepal are expected to go with an unchanged squad considering the turning pitch at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium. With only Aarif Sheikh and Dipendra Airee in as the pace option, spinners Dhamala, Sushil Kandel, Prem Tamang and Sandeep Lamichhane will have a lot to do against Ireland.

Ireland got the opportunity to replace Australia, who withdrew citing security reasons, in Group ‘D’ but their tournament build-up had not been good. They lost to Afghanistan (by 126 runs) and Canada (by four wickets) in the warm-up matches before restoring pride with a valiant performance against India in their tournament opener.

Ireland restricted a strong Indian batting side for 268 before making 189 runs in reply. If Nepal rely on spinners, the Irish are heavily dependent on their fast bowling trio of Rory Anders, Joshua Little and Tom Stanton. Lorcan Tucker and William McClintock had hit half centuries against India and Nepal will have to put extra effort to take care of the two middle order batsmen.


Published: 30-01-2016 08:44

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