Nepal will face UAE in the first match of ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
Coming into the tournament UAE made it clear for them Nepal were the team to beat. Although the top ranked of this tournament UAE have lost every encounter against Nepal in the last year (3 T20s). However the last time these teams met in the 50 over format, it was the final of ACC Elite Cup and it ended in a thrilling tie.
Unless there are upsets all the way UAE will be one of the six teams of the super league. The points of group stage against fellow group member carries to the super six so win against UAE tomorrow will virtually mean a win in the super six.
Seaming pitches are basically alien condition for both teams. Both Dassanayake and Aqib had poured concerns over team’s adaptability in the seaming conditions prior to the practice matches. After 2 wins in a row for UAE, one of them against second seed Netherlands, UAE seems to have settled to the NZ’s wickets.
Nepali team on the other hand lost both its practice matches and players would still not be confident facing the moving ball. UAE’s coach, former Pakistani fast bowler Aqib Javed also threw an early mind game card as he pointed out UAE’s plans of using fast bowlers against Nepal. Nepal had struggled against Amjad Javed and Manjula Guruge in the third place play offs of T20 Qualifiers.
UAE had never lost a match against Nepal till October of 2012. Nepal finally got better of its Asian arch rival in the opening match of ACC Elite Cup 2012 thanks to five wicket haul from Shakti Gauchan and steady 63 from Anil Mandal. Nepal and UAE also met in the final of that tournament where Shakti’s last over six helped Nepal play a tie to share the ACC Trophy.
Prior to that Nepal had faced convincing defeats in 6 previous encounters. After 2012 however Nepal has had tremendous success against UAE beating them thrice in three matches and each other match more convincingly than the previous one.
Nepal’s most recent success against UAE was in the third place play off ICC T20 Qualifier where Nepal chased UAE’s 133 runs target with 4 balls to spare. Basanta Regmi picked up 4 wickets with extreamly impressive spell of left arm bowling and Sharad Vesawkar finished the game in style with two sixes in a row.
Know Your Opponent
UAE squad consist of more or less settled line up. 13 of 15 players stuck together in ICC WCL Championships 2011-2013. However Khurram Khan, Amjd Ali and Amjad Javed are the only players that saw action in the CWCQ in South Africa in 2009.
UAE is vastly experienced side and for many over experienced. Addition of hard hitting
Amjad Ali will add to UAE’s batting strength. Often known for its sloppy fielding due to ageing players, one can expect better show on field by UAE with inclusion of U-19 opener Chirag Suri and 28 year old Salman Faris.
Khurram Khan (captain), Amjad Ali, Shaiman Anwar, Nasir Aziz, Salman Faris, Manjula Guruge, Amjad Javed, Rohan Mustafa, Muhammad Naveed, Swapnil Patil, Ahmed Raza, Kamran Shahzad, Vikrant Shetty, Shadeep Silva, Chirag Suri
Players to watch out
Fast bowlers Amjad Javed and Manjula Guruge looked very threatening against Nepal in the third place play offs. Javed and Guruge both were getting plenty of movement from even the dry pitches of UAE. With seaming tracks here it could they can make life very difficult for Nepali batsman.
Khurram Khan has always performed against Nepal-He has a decade long record of consistent performance against Nepal. Let that be 2002 ACC Trophy Final where he made 60 or 2012 ACC Elite Cup Finals where he scored 60. In the practice match of the ICC T20 Qualifers he had scored 55 against Nepal.
Amjad Ali when he does perform, though, he tends to steal the show. He smashed 70 runs against tournament favourites Netherland in the practice match two days back to give UAE convincing win. He also has half century against Sri Lanks against ODI. Shaimam Anwar the highest run getter of WCL Championships is the most consistent batsman in Associate Cricket. Anwar had 3 centuries to his name last one even against Bangladesh U-23 in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup.
Nepal-Team Composition and Strategy
With Subash too sick to play Mahesh Chhetri and Anil Mandal will open for Nepal. Anil scored 63 runs when Nepal defeated UAE for the first time. He also made a 44 runs in the finals of ACC Elite Cup 2012. Anil has been in good touch in NZ as well with two half centuries to his name.
Nepal will likely go with Sompal Kami leading the seam attack supported by Avinash Karn. Spin will one again be Nepal’s chief weapon. Both Basanta and Shakti have great records with ball against UAE.