All hopes bank on cricket

- Pawan Acharya, Incheon
All hopes bank on cricket

Sep 30, 2014-

At a time when athletes in individual games are meekly bowing out, much will be expected from the national cricket team when they take on Afghanistan in the quarter-finals of the 17th Asian Games at the Yeonhui Cricket Ground in Incheon on Wednesday.

The national team will look to repeat the success of the ICC World Cricket Twenty20 held in Bangladesh where they had defeated their archrivals for the one and only time in the shorter version of the game.

As draw has looked favourable for Nepal, it gives the cricketers a golden opportunity to take one step closer to a medal that has so far eluded the country in South Korea. Nepal have not been able to win a single medal in any discipline so far.

Afghanistan have fielded an experimental side for the Games as a majority of their first string players are currently undergoing ICC High Performance Programme in Australia for the 2015 World Cup. If Nepal go through from their match on Wednesday, they will probably fix a date with familiar opponents Hong Kong in the semi-finals. Considering the familiarity with the opponents and the recent head-to-head results, Nepal will keep their fingers crossed in Incheon.  

Skipper Paras Khadka was anxious to gift the nation an Asian medal to add to the merry making of festival Dashain but he choses to hold himself back. “Hopes are high on us but the time has not yet come for us to claim that we will end up winning medal,” said Khadka. “We have the possibility but that alone is not enough. We need to go out on the field and beat Afghanistan to make that happen.” Khadka said Afghanistan are very strong opponents. “Afghanistan have been playing high-level cricket but that does not mean we are extremely weak. We just need to be cautious against them,” explained the skipper.

Afghanistan will also be Nepal’s first real test in Incheon where they had cruised to the quarter-finals without much of fuss in the league stages. Nepal had hammered Kuwait by nine wickets in the Group ‘B’ opener and beaten Maldives by seven wickets on Sunday. With both teams in a do-or-die situation, the quarter-final is going to be a different story for Nepal. Skipper Khadka is aware of the Afghans strategy and added the team was all set to take on them.

Published: 01-10-2014 08:12

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