Sports

Nepal seeking improved performance in Malaysia

  • ACC U-19 Asia Cup
- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu

Nov 8, 2017-After a morale-boosting win over youth team of Bangla-desh in their preparation tour in Savar, Nepal headed for the ACC U-19 Asia Cup on Tuesday but with a very low expectation.

Nepal are pitted with defending champions and India in Group ‘A’ that also consists of Bangladesh and hosts Malaysia. In the presence of two big teams, it is going to be a tough ask for Nepal to secure the top two place needed to enter the semi-finals. Coach and former national team skipper Binod Das wants has modest expectations.

Nepal had a perfect build by playing against the youth Bangladeshi team in a three-match practice series, which the hosts won 2-1. The emphatic six-wicket win in the final game was the toast of the tour for Das but the Nepal coach wants his side to keep their feet on the ground.

“Ee had the best build up so far and our boys learnt a lot playing against a quality team. They fought hard in the first match and won the last game as well. We have put in a lot of effort and I must stay we are in a right track,” Das said.

“But we still have a long way to go. The road ahead is not easy because we won only one game against Bangladesh. Asia Cup is going to be another tough journey. Our primary objective would be improve on our performance. Apart from India and Bangladesh, even Malaysia have been playing a lot of cricket these days. If we play to our potential and raise our game, it doesn’t matter even if we lose,” added Das.

The bright side for Nepal in their Bangladesh tour was a match-winning 139-run opening wicket stand between Aasif Sheikh and Jitendra Singh Thakuri. After the 2015 ICC U-19 World Cup Global Qualifiers in Malaysia, Nepal have not seen big opening wicket stand. After the 2015 Global Qualifiers in October, Nepal competed in 2016 World Cup, Asia Cup, 2018 World Cup Qualifiers and ACC U-19 Eastern Region.

But Nepal’s best opening wicket stand during the time period remains 39 runs made by Sandeep Sunar and Sunil Dhamala in their historic win over New Zealand in the U-19 World Cup.

Sunar, who is still opening for the U-19 team, and Dhamala had notched up a record 170-run stand against Ireland in the Global Qualifiers. “It’s a good sign that we finally had a big partnership for the opening wicket,” the coach added. In a game where Sunar was rested, Thakuri made the most of the chance hanging around with Aasif to make 45 runs in the century stand against Bangladesh.

Das avoided talking on his opening combination for Asia Cup but said: “The one who has played well will get chance. Sandeep didn’t have enough preparation time due to sickness. We needed to rate everyone and sent in Jitendra which ultimately worked. He is a good prospect.”

With the new opening combination bearing fruit, Das would see an equally good contribution from middle order that begins with No 3 Anil Sah followed by skipper Dipendra Singh Airee, Rohit Kumar Paudel, Bhim Sarki and Pranit Thapa Magar, who have been making most of the runs following the failure of openers.

Nepal’s bowling department will once again depend on leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, Sahab Alam and Pawan Sarraf. “We want our pacers to bowl the way Kishor Mahato bowled in Bangla-desh. Additionally there is Dipendra and Rohit as well who can bowl with decent pace. We have enough resources,” said Das.

Nepal’s fixtures

November 11 vs Bangladesh

November 12 vs India

November 14 vs Malaysia

Squad

Dipendra Singh Airee (captain), Aasif Sheikh, Jitendra Singh Thakuri, Anil Kumar Sah, Rohit Kumar Paudel, Bhim Sharki, Pawan Sarraf, Pranit Thapa Magar, Shahab Alam, Sandeep Lamichhne, Kishor Mahato, Sandeep Sunar, Rashid Khan, Prakash KC, Kamal Singh Airee

Published: 08-11-2017 08:29

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