After recent success across various international sports events, Nepal is currently heading towards critical stage of winning entry to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers (ICWCQ) scheduled for March 4-25, 2018 in Zimbabwe.
As part of this journey, Nepali cricket team faced Namibian cricket team in the first match of the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division-2 on February 08, 2018.
Winning the toss, Nepali team chose to bowl first. Basant Regmi and Shakti Gauchan form the major strength of Nepal team’s bowling order.
Whereas, Captain and Skipper Paras Khadka, Vice-Captain Gyanendra Malla, Sharad Vesawkar, Dilip Nath, Gyanendra Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee, among others form the key batting order of the Nepali cricket team.
Besides, the team also has the leg-spin bowler Sandeep Lamichhane, who rose to fame after being chosen for the Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy in the recently-held auction.
“Our batting has to click. There is no doubt about that. The top and middle order batsmen have to take the responsibilities and perform. At this level we have to push ourselves to do better. As a team everyone is hungry to perform, so I am hopeful we can deliver when it matters,” says Khadka.
Former Mumbai Coach for Ranji Trophy Sulakashan Kulkarni has been roped in as the batting consultant for the team in Division-2 matches.
“Kulkarni has been very strategic and very precise. Having a new experienced voice in the dressing room always helps. He has done what he needed to and now it all comes down to how we deliver,” adds Khadka.
This match is most critical for Nepal as it is important for Nepal to win this match to be positioned in the place in ICWCQ, establish itself as the one-day international cricket team and also win participation opportunity in the matches with non-Test playing countries.
To overcome this challenge, Nepal has to win the Division 2 which also has Kenya, Oman, UAE and Canada as competitors.
However, the match with Namibia sounds positive for Nepal going by the country’s win over Namibian cricket team in WCL Division-2 2015 which earned Nepali team an entry into WCL championship.
Nepal has been moved to Division 2 tournament owing to its failure with UAE and Hong Kong teams in the final stages of WCL, exactly three ranks after the top four who entered the Qualifiers round.
While a total of six teams are competing, the top two teams of this round-robin league will move to finals and find place in the ICCWCQ 2018 in coming March.
Post this match, Nepal will face Oman on February 9, 2018 and later the UAE team. Following this, the team will also play with Kenya on February 12, 2018 and play the final round match with Canada on February 14, 2018.