Kenya Real Test for Nepal
On the eve of UAE departure Paras Khadka told media and fans that the team wanted dominate the tournament and qualify for the World Cup as Group B winners. The match against Kenya, once World Cup Semi Finalist but now a team failing at top associate level could answer if Nepal is actually ready for the top associates’ flight.
The manner Nepal chased just 80 against scrawny looking Denmark has raised a question on Nepal’s claims of being one of the better teams in the tournament. The match today must have spawned several doubts in the Nepali camp. The team would be itching to defeat a real challenge like Kenya and have their T20 Qualifier campaign up and running. A win again Kenya will help revive the belief that they belong among the top associates.
Kenya hasn’t had a good start to the tournament either losing to PNG today, as their bowlers failed to defend a mammoth total (175).The batting which seems to be the strong hold(175 vs PNG and 160 against Namibia) of Kenyan team will come all gun blazing at Nepal and how Nepali spin trio Shakti, Basanta, and Sagar restrain the hard hitters from Africa will determine the fate of tomorrow’s match.
The openers-Subash and Pradeep and Binod Bhandari have utterly failed in the 3 matches played so far.
Paras Khadka will be the key to tomorrow’s for tomorrow’s match. If Paras fails to deliver with the bat- Sharad Vesawkar and Sagar Pun, who haven’t been tested so far will have important role with the bat.
Likely Changes – Nepal will likely drop a seamer in tomorrow’s match.
But it will be a head ache for the captain and the coach to choose between Anil Mandal and Rahul Viswakrma to replace the fast bowler. With Fluttery batting Nepal would want to strength the batting with Anil but the way Kenya posted 175 in their match today they would want good options with the ball as well. Anil’s inclusion would mean Nepal would have additional options with the opening.
Nepal had defeated Kenya when these teams met in the previous edition of the tournament in 2012. That will probably be the biggest inspiration for Nepali players in the match tomorrow especially because Nepal has since that encounter come couple of paces up in the WCL ranking while Kenya is not considered as strong as it was then.
In 2012 Basanta starred in the match with 3 wickets restricting Kenya to restrict Kenya to chaseable 139 in 20 overs. He gave away just 23 runs in his 4 overs. Anil Mandal and Airee laid the winning foundation with 64 runs for first wicket. Pradeep Airee provided early fire power with 45 of 38 ball. Paras Khadka stayed there till the end with 26 of 22 balls completing the chase with just 2 balls to spare.
Kenya is a desperate blend of youth and experience. So unsatisfied were the selectors and Cricket Borad with constant humiliating defeats they decided to call back Steve Tiko;o and Thomas Odoyo back from retirement.
Collins Obuya (captain), Ragheb Aga, Duncan Allan, Dhiren Gondaria, Irfan Karim, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Thomas Odoyo, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Rakep Patel, Steve Tikolo, Hiren Varaiya
ICC T20 Qualifier 2012– 9th
ICC T20 Qualifier 2013 Qualification – Finished first in 2013 ICC World Cricket League Africa Region Twenty20 Division One bettering Uganda on run rate.
Players to Watch
Collins Obuya– A leg spinner who starred with five wickets against Sri Lanka in 2003 World Cup but ironically he will have major role with the bat. He is leading run scorer for Kenya in T20 and starred with 60 in their recent famous victory against Afghanistan. His leg spin would not be a easy riddle for Nepali batsman. He made 52 against Nepal in previous edition of the tournament. He already has a fifty to his name scoring 52 against PNG yesterday.
Alex Obanda– He is considered as one of the finest batsman outside test circuit by many. He was the highest run getter for Kenya with 298 runs in last edition of the tournament. He has been getting into his strides with 20, 16 and 26 in last three matches. He had scored 64 in the final of African T20 Championsips against Uganda.
Shem Ngoche– Left arm orthodox bowler, he has 41 wickets in T20 for Kenya. He has been amongst wickets in the 3 matches played in UAE and also took 3 against Nepal. Having faced Basanta, Rahul and Shakti a lot in the net, it would be interesting to see how Nepal cope with similar bowler from other team.
Steve Tikolo and Thomas Odoyo did not play against Nepal in the previous edition. These veterans have been among runs in the warm up matches. Tikolo scored 38 off just 19 balls opening yesterday against PNG.
Sagar Pun– He has been the best bowler for Nepal in UAE so far. Sanjam Regmi, the previous off-spinner went for runs against Kenyan batsman last year. How Sagar, who is a different bowler than Sanjam, measures up to the veteran Kenyans is a worth watch.
Gyanendra Malla– Malla is one of the finest talent on show in the tournament. Regardless of how many times he fails the team always expects him to fire. He would also be itching to have an impact in the tournament. An excellent fielder he can have an impact on the result of the match with his fielding alone.