The roller coaster ride called ICC T20 Qualifier, a fairly tale story for Nepali cricket team comes to an end today with the final and third place play off matches.
Losing to Afghanistan Nepal will today take on UAE for the third place play offs. Playing 9 matches in the tournament, Nepal has defeated 5, the same five it defeated in the previous edition of the tournament. Nepal went into the tournament with aims of hunting top associates-teams it hadn’t defeated previously, but that will now have to wait at least the 50 Over World Cup Qualifiers in January.
Today’s match will be one more opportunity for Nepalese batsman stand up and perform as par with fans’ expectations. The batting has looked rusty through out the tournament. For bowlers it will be an opportunity for players like Karn to seal their place in the senior side with good show.
With nothing to lose expect some aggressive cricket from both the teams.
Likely Changes- Rahul Viswakarma, Mahesh Chhetri could get chance today. Airee will likely be dropped. Expect some wild changes in the batting and bowling order.
UAE has always been ranked higher than Nepal and they had performed according to their ranks till 2010. Since then UAE has defeated Nepal in only one T20 match while Nepal has outperformed UAE in 4 tournaments they have competed together.
*Nepal however defeated UAE in the Group Stage.
Nepal always saw UAE as its better nemesis. The limited over matches before 2010 hadn’t been pretty for Nepal, facing convincing defeats in all 6 matches; 2 of them in Semi Final(2006,2008) and One in the Final (2002) of ACC Elite Cup.
In 2011 edition of ACC T20 Cup, Nepal and UAE met in the group stage in the only T20 match these two teams have played, where UAE embarrassed Nepal first restricting Nepal to mere 95 runs and chased it down slow at will to add salt to injury. This years edition of the tournament Nepal drew level defeating UAE convincingly in the semi finals.
The last four encounters for Nepal against UAE have been memorable. Nepal first defeated UAE in the group stages of ACC Elite Cup 2012 thanks to 5 wicket haul from Shakti Gauchan, Nepal first victory over UAE in limited over’s game. Nepal then matched UAE’s batting brilliance in the final to share the ACC Elite Cup. Nepal then defeated UAE twice in a row first in the semi final of ACC Elite Cup 2013 and then in the warm up match of this tournament.
UAE is very experienced side and for many it over experienced. The age is catching up with the players. The average age of the team over 30 and thus although good with the bat and often sharp with the ball, UAE is too sloppy in the field.
ICC T20 Qualifier 2012– Did no qualify
ICC T20 Qualifier Qualification– Qualified as host; Ended third behind Nepal and Afghanistan in the regional qualifiers.
Khurram Khan (captain), Saqib Ali, Shaiman Anwar, Muhammad Azam, Nasir Aziz, Amjad Javed, Asim Kurshid, Rohan Mustafa, Muhammad Naveed, Swapnil Patil, Ahmed Raza, Abdul Shakoor, Kamran Shahzad, Shadeep Silva, Muhammad Shafiq
UAE in ICC T20 Qualifier 2013
Form: W W L W W L W W L
Most Runs : Khurram Khan with 254 runs in 9 matches with 2 half centuries
Most Wickets: Nasir Aziz and AM Gurdge with 14 each
Best Bowling Performance: Rohan Mustafa 3/14 against Namibia
Best Batting Performance: 67* by Khurram Khan against Hong Kong
Highest Total : 159/8 against Canada
Most Sixes : Khurram Khan and Shaiman Anwar with 6 sixes each
Quarter Final : Defeated Netherlands by 10 runs
Semi Final – Lost to Ireland by 62 runs
Paras Khadka (captain), Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Amrit Bhattarai, MaheshChhetri, Shakti Gauchan, Subash Khakurel, Avinash Karn, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Mandal, Jitendra Mukhiya, Sagar Pun, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar, Rahul Vishwakarma
Nepal in ICC T20 Qualifier 2013
Form: W W L W L L W W L
Most Runs: Paras Khadka 230 runs in 9 innings with 1 half Century
Most Wickets: Paras Khadka and Jitendra Mukhiya will 11 each
Best Bowling Performance: Basanta Regmi 3/12 against The Netherlands
Best Batting Performance: 54* Paras Khadka against Kenya
Highest Total: 186/4 in 19.4 overs against Kenya
Most Sixes: Paras Khada, 11 sixes
Quarter Final : Defeated Hong Kong by 5 wickets
Semi Final: Lost to Afghanistan by 7 wickets
Players to Watch Out
Paras Khadka scored 80 plus runs against UAE in the warm up match to defeat UAE.
Avinash Karn debuting for Nepal in T20 against Afghanistan earlier in the tournament has been the most impressive bowler in last 3 matches. With ability to move the ball both ways and consistently hitting the right line he will certainly cause some problem
Khurram Khan 42 years old, is the leading run scorer for UAE in the tournament.
Rohan Mustafa is the best all rounder in UAE squad, with 7 wickets and 113 runs.