Sports

Nepal look for Dutch scalp

  • icc world cup qualifiers
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 17, 2018-

Nepal will take time out from their ecstatic celebrations of becoming the One-Day International (ODI) nation to play Netherlands in the seventh place match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers at the Kwekwe Sports Club in Zimbabwe on Friday. 

“We have to finish as high as possible. We are looking for the seventh position,” Nepal skipper Paras Khadka told the Post from Harare, a day after Nepal became the 16th ODI nation to enter the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings following a six-wicket drubbing of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Nepal’s victory combined with the Dutch’s win over Hong Kong the same day confirmed their ODI status. 

In a squad that features number of players with extensive experience, the Netherlands will be clear favourites for Saturday’s game but Nepal would like to finish the tournament on a high note. The two teams have met four times with each winning on two occasions. Nepal first met the Netherlands during their disastrous 2014 World Cup Qualifiers campaign where they finished in a disappointing ninth. In that match—also a seventh place playoff semi-final—Nepal were bundled out for just 171 runs and the Dutch overcame the total for the loss of three wickets in 31.5 overs. 

Nepal had their revenge in the 2015 ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia winning the game by two wickets. Netherlands then hosted Nepal in the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) and beat the visitors by seven wickets in the first game. But Nepal had the share of the spoils defeating the hosts by 19 runs in the second game. Nepal were the only team to beat the Netherlands in the WCLC, the eventual champions who got the ODI status as the reward and will now involved in the ICC’s new 13-team ODI League.

The Netherlands, one of the favourites to reach Super Six from Group ‘A’, had a disappointing campaign though as they made an early exit, the six-wicket defeat to the United Arab Emirates dealing them a major blow. Their batting has not been up to the mark with their best team total being 216 against PNG. But Nepal skipper Paras Khadka doesn’t want to take Netherlands lightly. “They are a very good team and to beat them we have to play our best. We need to play well every time we represent our country and give the best,” added Khadka hinting that his team is not taking the game for granted after earning that coveted ODI status. “We need to push ourselves for future as well. So we are eagerly looking forward to the game.”

With nothing to lose, the match will give Nepal’s out of form batsmen a good opportunity to rediscover themselves. Opening batsman and vice-captain Gyanendra Malla will be trying his best to regain his lost form. Malla has scored 75 in five matches so far with best score of 32 coming against Zimbabwe on a flat batting surface at the Queen’s Sports Club.

Nepal will be look to play with the same combination that faced PNG, meaning middle order Sharad Vesawkar might get an extended rest to end his Qualifiers campaign playing just the first two matches against Zimbabwe and Scotland. Another opener Anil Sah is also likely to open with Malla for the second match in a row. Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, slow left-arm bowlers Basanta Regmi and Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi will be crucial against the Dutch.

 

Published: 17-03-2018 08:26

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