Winless Nepal take on Hong Kong today
- icc world cup qualifiers
Mar 12, 2018-
Nepal take on Hong Kong in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers with even victory at Bulawayo Athletic Club in Zimbabwe not guaranteeing them a place in the Super Six.
Nepal have lost all three matches against Zimbabwe, Scotland and Afghanistan and lie bottom of the five-team Group ‘B’ without a point. Zimbabwe and Scotland have already secured their passage to the Super Six with six points each leaving the three other teams to fight for one remaining spot. If Hong Kong win, they advance leaving Afghanistan—who have already wrapped up their league campaign with two points from four games—in fourth and Nepal in fifth. More tellingly under the scenario, combined with qualification of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Group ‘A’ will not only close Nepal’s door to Super Six but also any remaining hopes of gaining the one-day international (ODI) for the next four years.
As only top three Associate teams—Ireland, Afghanistan, West Indies and Zimbabwe are full ICC members—will join World Cricket League Championship winners the Netherlands in gaining ODI status until 2022, under the circumstances Nepal will be demoted to Division 2 with Hong Kong, the UAE and Scotland earning the ODI status.
So the ideal equation for Nepal would be to defeat Hong Kong on Monday and hope that the UAE do not qualify for the Super Six. Under the equation, only two Associate teams will advance to the Super Six leaving one more place available to gain ODI status from three other teams. Victory over Hong Kong alone may not be sufficient for Nepal to pip Afghanistan into third as the newly-crowned Test nation have far superior net run-rate.
Hong Kong come into the match with 89-run loss to Zimbabwe but with a high morale having stunned the pre-tournament favourite Afghanistan by 30 runs in the previous match under the Duckworth Lewis method. Both Nepal and Hong have been reliant heavily on one man in their batting. Anshuman Rath has been their go-for man so far as he has scored 150 runs with his 65 setting up the victory against Afghanistan.
Nepal skipper Paras Khadka has been a class apart in his own right, scoring 178 runs with two half centuries in three matches. While Khadka appears scoring runs freely, the likes of his deputy Gyanendra Malla, veteran Sharad Vesawkar and rookie Dipendra Singh Airee have all been a big disappointment.
Nepal’s bowling, always considered their key weapon, has been a big disappointment so far. Spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and Basanta Regmi’s four wickets each in three games is the best return for Nepal. Hong Kong appears better equipped in this department as off-spinner Ehsan Khan heads the top wicket-takers list with nine scalps.
As skipper Khadka urged his teammates to up their ante ahead of their Afghanistan clash, Nepal once look for each individual to pull up their socks in order to beat Hong Kong and hope for other results to go in their favour to harbour hopes on earning the ODI status if not qualify for the Super Six stages.
Team M W L NR Pts NRR
West Indies 3 3 0 0 6 1.380
Ireland 3 2 1 0 4 0.334
UAE 3 2 1 0 4 0.224
Netherlands 3 1 2 0 2 -0.445
PNG 4 0 4 0 0 -0.865
Zimbabwe 3 3 0 0 6 1.380
Scotland 3 3 0 0 6 1.160
Afghanistan 4 1 3 0 2 0.038
Hong Kong 3 1 2 0 2 -1.246
Nepal 3 0 3 0 0 -1.546
Published: 12-03-2018 10:09