Nepal in do or die clash

  • World Cricket League Div 2
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 14, 2018-

Needing an outright victory to seal a spot in next month’s ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, Nepal are taking on Canada in their do-or-die clash of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek, Namibia, on Wednesday.

Nepal are currently third in the standings on net run-rate as they are tied on six points with table toppers Canada and second-placed Namibia. The hosts crushed Kenya by eight wickets in their penultimate league game on Tuesday to leapfrog Nepal. With Namibia (0.787) and the United Arab Emirates (1.221) boasting a strong run rate and playing each other in their last league game, it leaves Nepal with no other option than to beat Canada for a place in the top two. Nepal—with a run rate of -0.158—can be overtaken by either the UAE or Namibia if they lose to Canada. Only top two teams earn tickets to the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe next month.

While Canada’s only blemish in the tournament was their 23-run defeat against hosts Namibia on Monday, Nepal have struggled throughout in terms of batting. They opened with a slim one-wicket win over Namibia that saw them win the game in last over in chase of 139 runs.

Next day, they were packed up for 138 against Oman who went on to win with six wickets. Even in a rain-reduced 34-over game, they folded UAE for 114 runs but needed a half century from skipper Paras Khadka to see them through in the 29th over. On Monday against Kenya, they crawled to reach the target of 178 in the last over of the match.

Canada, meanwhile, had an excellent start crushing Oman by eight wickets and followed it with a 23-run win over UAE and 59-run humbling of Kenya. Top two spots in the tournament’s highest scorer is dominated by Canadians with their opener Ravindu Gunasekera notching up 228 runs. Their skipper Nitish Kumar is up next with 168 runs.

However, Canada have not only about Gunasekera and Kumar. They have a long batting lineup and Nepali bowlers will have a lot of work to do. Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 14 scalps, will be once again be in the spotlight after starring in Kenya match with his first five-wicket haul in List ‘A’.

On the contrary, Nepal’s batting has been centred around Khadka and the team will once again look up to him. He is the leading scorer for Nepal with 129 runs. Nepal playing XI might remain unchanged although they saw debutant and opener Anil Sah go for a duck against Kenya on Monday. The team desperately wants Sah and Gyanendra Malla to provide a good start that Nepal has been seeking.

Malla has failed to fare according to expectations as the opener has managed just 36 runs in the first four matches. The in form batsman in Nepali team last year, Dipendra Singh Airee, has also failed in Namibia, scoring only 31 from four games.

Nepal and Canada have previously played twice in 50 overs matches. Canada edged Nepal by 13 runs in the 2014 ICC Cricket World Qualifiers in New Zealand. Nepal then had their revenge beating the Canadians by seven wickets in the 2015 Division 2 tournament, also in Namibia.

Published: 14-02-2018 11:09

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