Opinion

What lets Nepal down time and again?

Nepal Cricket Team is participating in the ICC World Cricket Division 3 that starts from October 23 and commences on October 30 in Malaysia. Being the previous champions, the cricket team has not only got a responsibility to defend the title but also show the critics what they are capable of. The top two teams from this tournament secures a place in Division 2, and the top two teams from Division 2 gets the opportunity to play four-day first class competition for Associate and Affiliate Members, the ICC Intercontinental Cup, and the 50-over Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship.

For Nepal, to fail to be in top two in Division 3 means to give up their dream of playing in ICC’s high level program. This will then push Nepal back for another 3-4 years as all the funds provided by ICC relays on the position of Nepal on the Division level. ICC don’t consider the T20 performance to fund the associate countries.

Coming to the performance, Nepal’s game is always a treat to watch inside the ground and outside the ground as well. Outside the ground, Nepal’s game is intresting to watch because of their fans watching their games online and on the ground wherever they play, loads of comments on every Facebook Cricket pages and a great media support. Interesting on the field because of the enthusiasm and commitments Nepali players show inside the field, amazing celebration they do, and because Nepali spinners are always great to watch.

Well, if Nepal’s bowling is good, fielding is brilliant and commitment level of players is always high, what lets Nepal down? One thing that lets Nepal down is their batting. Nepal’s batting is the only thing that lets their team down time and again.

In this article, I talk about some points that has been the fault point in Nepal’s batting.

Paras Khadka effect on Nepal’s batting:
It might be rough to say but we can divide Nepal’s batting into two sides. On one side, there is the runs that Captain Paras Khadka scores, and on the other side, there is the runs scored by the team in recent years. If Khadka scores a handful number of runs, then the team scores a good total or chases any target. But, if Khadka fails to scores, the whole team fails to score. Such was the story in Nepal’s practice matches in Sir Lanka. In the first game against Sir Lanka Ports Authority Club, Khadka was not playing. Nepal team without Khadka failed to chase a target of 154 runs in 50 overs. They got all out on just 79 runs. On the very next match against Colts Cricket Club, with Khadka Nepal chased a similar target of 151 runs with ease with 15 overs and seven wickets remaining out of which Khadka scored 67 runs off 68 balls.

During the ACC Emerging Cup 2013, during Nepal’s 3rd match against Afghanistan, Nepal were chasing 161 runs. Nepal lost quick wickets in the first ten overs as always and then Paras came to bat. He started scoring at a good rate. Afghansitan took his wicket when Nepal were 142/4 and it became 142/5. Nepal then needed just 19 runs to with with 5 wickets and 16 overs remaining. But then, after Khadka’s wicket, Nepal batting deteriorated and Nepal were all out for 157 runs. Such is Khadka’s effect on Nepal’s batting. If he is in the crease, every batsman looks confident and score runs; if he is not the whole team collapse.

Nepal’s long search for a formidable opening pair:
Nepal’s long search for a formidable opening pair hasn’t finished yet. Subash Khakurel at the start of the innings has shown some promise and he has played some fine innings in both ODIs and T20s. But his partner hasn’t got a fifty yet as an opener. He has been given a lot of chances but has failed on every occasion. Nepal tried Anil Mandal at the top, then they tried Pradeep Airee and then Sagar Pun but everyone failed. Now, Naresh Budhayer is expected to open the innings for Nepal in Division 3. Lets hope he gets a success this time.

Failure to Capitalize Power Play overs:
Nepal’s another problem with the bat is their inability to capitalize power play overs. It’s often said in limited over cricket that powerplay changes the game. Team that makes good use of the powerplay wins and game and vice-versa. But Nepal’s condition in the powerplay has always been a misery. We have been seeing Nepal losing quick wickets in the first ten overs due to which Nepal always score slow in the first ten overs. Slow Middle Order And Their Inability To Accelerate Innings At Appropriate Time: During the middle overs, Nepal batsman take the innings slow (except Paras). They took bunch of ball to open their innings, another dozen balls to settle and they can’t even work out for singles. The pressure created by those dot balls eventually leads them to their failure. Some times after a slow start, another problem with Nepal batsman is they start accelerating at wrong times. Some time they don’t wait for the powerplay overs and sometime they play the powerplay slow. Again, Nepal doesn’t have hard hitters for the death overs like other associates, Afghanistan and Ireland have due to which they have to settle for a low score.

Lack Of Big Innings:
In 50 over cricket, you need a big inning from your top order batsman for your team to get a good score. In the 3rd practice match against Ragama Cricket Club, an innings of 167 runs form Gyanendra Malla and 62 runs from Naresh Budhayer was enough to get 285 runs in 50 overs for Nepal. That’s why rather than runs in the 30s and 40s from 4 or 5 batsman, if one player can play a big innings, he can carry his team to safety and that’s what your team expect from your top order-batsman as well. Nepal lacked this capacity due to which in 18 years of international cricket, we have seen only 6 or 7 centuries form Nepali batsman. This record should be improved and hopefully this time our players can do that.

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