Cricnepal/Kathmandu: The 4th Edition of the ACC T20 Cup will kick off today as host Nepal takes on minnows Maldives in the opener of the tournament to be played at Tribhuvan University Cricket Ground, Kritipur.
Nepal is ranked much higher than Maldives and thus is expected to beat Maldives with absolute ease. Maldives however will be hoping to create an early upset defeating the tournament favorites in the opener- nothing to loose against a side much stronger than themselves, the pressure is all on Nepal to stand up to the expectation and start the tournament with a big win.
This is only the second T20 match between the two sides; Nepal had defeated Maldives comprehensively by 75 runs when the two teams met in the Group stages of Asian Games 2010 held in Guangzhou, China nearly 3 years back. Team Nepal has improved a lot in these 3 years while 2010 was the probably the best year for Maldives Cricket as they won ACC Challenge Trophy, their biggest achievement in international Cricket.
The Maldives team which is a tad weaker than that in 2010 will face a much stronger Nepalese team in Nepalese home soil.
Nepal has won all the 5 ODI games played against Maldives, all of them pretty comprehensively. Cricket team of Maldives and Nepal first met in 2000 in the group stages of ACC Trophy where Nepal defeated Maldives by 5 wickets. Other four ODI’s were played as part of Emerging Nation’s Cup between 2002-2004, Nepal comprehensively victorious in all four.
Manjeet Shrestha and Chandra Sawad are likely to make their come back with the match against Maldives.
Maldives Squad has blend of youth and experience. Afzal Fiaz who played the first ever Nepal vs Maldives match in 2000 is present on their squad. The team is lead by 38 year old all rounder Abdulla Shahid.
Abdulla Shahid(c),Ahmed Afzal Faiz, Hassan Hazig Rasheed, Mohamed Rishwan, Ahmed Ameel Mauroof, Shafraz Jaleel,Ahmed Neesham Nasir, Mihusan Hamid,Mohamed Azzam, Mohamed Akram, Ismail Ali, Mohamed Safee Saeed,Ishan Jayakody,Roshan Maduruwala
ACC T20 2011: 8th
Players to Watch Out in Maldives Team:
Mohamed Riswan wicketkeeper batsman will have a key role to play if Maldives want to make a match out of the game. Riswan has been batting exceptionally well in international Cricket with 45 against Afghanistan, 32 againsst Kuwait, 44 against Malaysia, and 54 against Bhutan in recently held ACC Elite Cup in UAE.
Mihusan Hamid, player of the tournament of the Domestic Cricket League(Division-I) in Maldives. He took two wickets against Nepal in the Asian Games. He is a genuine all rounder and contributes well with both bat and ball.
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