Sports

Slumping Nepal look for solace

  • ICC World Cricket League Championship
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 8, 2017-Nepal are taking on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their second match of the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) seventh and final round as the team seeks a consolation win to wrap up the tournament in Abu Dhabi on Friday. 

After losing the first game against by seven wickets on Wednesday, the best Nepal can do from Friday’s match is cling on to the sixth spot provided they beat the hosts. Nepal currently have nine points - one ahead of UAE - before Friday’s last game concludes the tournament. They are certain not to be leapfrogged by bottom side Namibia (six points).

With an automatic spot in 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers gone after failing to round up inside the top four, Nepal will now get another shot at the Qualifiers if they finish inside top two in next year’s World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia. Defeating UAE would boost Nepal’s morale for Division 2 which will be held in February. 

However, a slumping Nepali squad will face a tough ask to beat UAE which had looked clinical with the bat in Wednesday’s convincing victory. Courtesy an 81 not out from No 3 batsman Sharad Vesawkar, Nepal had managed to put a respectable 221-6 in 50 overs. UAE raced to victory in 45.5 overs on a back of half centuries from their skipper Rohan Mustafa and Ghulam Shabbir.

Nepal’s batting has largely been dependant on their three premier batsmen - skipper Paras Khadka, opener Gyanendra Malla and Vesawkar. Malla had struck a half century in the first game but Khadka only managed to put 20 runs on the board and under pressure to up the ante, had lost his wicket following a 38-run stand with Vesawkar. 

If Nepal expect to avenge Wednesday’s defeat, the team must need their top three batsmen to click. For Nepal, the last two matches of the WCLC has all been about testing new players and the final game will also give them an opportunity to try out new combination in opening department. 

Due to injury to middle order batsman Dipendra Singh Airee, Nepal has called on Anil Sah as his replacement. According to national team management in UAE, Airee suffered cut inside his lip during practice and has five stitches. 

U-19 opener Sah was with the Nepali team for the two practice matches - against USA and Kenya - prior to the UAE games. After Dilip Nath looked sluggish while forging a 43-run opening wicket partnership with Malla on Wednesday making just 16 runs from 39 deliveries, a debut for Sah could be on the cards. Sah had impressed for Nepal during the ACC U-19 Asia Cup held in Malaysia. 

National team’s new entrant left arm seamer Lalit Singh Bhandari is likely to be dropped making way for Karan KC after the debutant went wicketless and leaked quite a few runs. The inclusion of hard hitting batsman Binod Bhandari and Sagar Pun will remain in suspense. Pun, who has seen his position fluctuating in the batting order, was rested for the first game and Bhandari could only manage four runs.

It would be interesting to see whether or not Nepal will go with the same spin trio of veteran Shakti Gauchan, Basanta Regmi and Sandeep Lamichhane. While leg spinner Lamichhane had managed to pick up one wicket on Wednesday, both Gauchan and Regmi had gone wicketless. Gauchan, in the twilight of his career, looked ineffective with his bowling and was hit for 32 runs in six overs.

Standings

Teams P W L NR Pts NRR

Netherlands 13 9 2 2 20 0.992

Scotland 13 7 3 3 17 0.585

PNG 13 8 5 0 16 -0.260

Hong Kong 13 7 4 2 16 1.004

Kenya 13 6 7 0 12 -0.318

Nepal 13 4 8 1 9 -0.375

UAE 13 4 9 0 8 -0.512

Namibia 13 3 10 0 6 -0.582

Published: 08-12-2017 09:28

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