Nepal eye maiden series victory

- Adarsha Dhakal, DUBAI

Jan 28, 2019-

Nepal is expected to go for the kill to claim their first ever One Day International Series victory when they take on hosts the United Arab Emirate in the third and final match at the ICC Academy Oval on Monday.

The three-match series against the Emiratis is Nepal’s second ODI series after achieving the coveted status through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March last year. Before this, Nepal had played a two-match ODI Series with the Nether-lands that ended at 1-1.

With the morale-boosting 145-run victory in the second ODI on Saturday, Nepal is confident about winning the final match.

“As a team we would like to continue the momentum that we have carried in the last match. There is confidence (after Saturday’s one-sided victory) but we cannot take anything for granted. It’s cricket and we have to start all over again. The guys are pushing themselves and we hope we can give that final punch tomorrow (Monday),” said Nepali skipper Paras Khadka.

Read: Records galore as Nepal level ODI series 

Khadka is aware that the UAE would want to come back stronger after Saturday’s defeat. But with the hosts without their three key players, including regular skipper Rohan Mustafa, Nepal’s job should be easier.

Nepal were undone by a grassy wicket in the first day of the series. The UAE took full advantage of their own conditions and dominated with the ball from the get-go to fold Nepal for a low total.

But Nepal showed some real grit by bowling their hearts out, reducing the hosts to 73-7 before ultimately losing the match by three wickets.

Saturday was as different story altogether. Nepal registered an emphatic win, thanks to the sensational batting of Rohit Kumar Paudel, who  became the world’s youngest half-century maker.

Another positive apart from a matured batting performance from 16-year-old Paudel in the second match was a half-century opening wicket stand between Gyanendra Malla and Binod Bhandari.

Nepal had gone into the tournament with a lot of worries in the opening department. Although the new pair failed in the first match, they laid the foundation for a winning total in the second adding 61 runs for the first wicket.

Read: Rohit Paudel becomes youngest batsman to record ODI fifty

“It would be too early to say our opening issue is solved now. They have added just 61 runs and its not a big partnership. We really want to have bigger partnership,” said batting consultant Umesh Patwal.

Nepal will be expected to go unchanged but young debutant Pawan Sarraf might lose his place after the scores of four and eight in the first two matches. Sarraf can make way for another debutant Bhim Sharki who is now tipped as Nepal’s future of middle order. Veteran left arm spinner Basanta Regmi, who is struggling with his fitness ever since his arrival in the UAE, could spend his time in dugout for second consecutive game.

“As a country and as a player, we would love to get that first ODI victory, especially playing away from home,” said Khadka.

Read: Nepal fall just short defending 113 runs


Published: 28-01-2019 08:03

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