Fairfax, VA – Nepal should have been atop the leaderboard after completion of day two action in the ongoing World Cricket League Division Two in Namibia.
Instead, the team finds themselves struggling to stay afloat. Quite clearly, it has been quite a struggle for our batsmen who are still looking to get the rhythm and form.
We witnessed the team play two nail-biting matches, in my opinion they should have won both, considering the batting depth. It did not happen.
The narrow win over the Netherlands is a big sigh of relief for the team and fans like me. More importantly, they won by a whisker to get back into contention, after finding themselves with their backs against the wall.
The batsmen must make the best of what they have got. So far, we have not seen it. All those following the competition will agree that the team’s fragile batting attributed to the heart breaking defeat in the opener against Uganda. And against the Netherlands another debacle was narrowly averted.
Batting is Team Nepal’s Achilles heel and is a big concern for the management right now. It is very obvious that we need a resolute batting and a greater commitment and consistency from our batsmen.
They have to raise their game and not waste the splendid work done by the bowlers so far. We did see a much better performance from our batters in the second match but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
So far so good has been the story of our bowlers. It is very imperative that they stay on top of their game, focused, concentrating on the work and challenge at hand.
Admittedly batsmen must find a quick way to overcome their shortcomings, the tournament, otherwise, might be out of their reach. They have to come out all guns blazing in the remaining matches. Their form is crucial for the success of the team. I get the feeling that our batsmen weakness requires more than a short-term fix.
Against Netherlands: Barely survives
As the result suggest, Nepal almost threw away the game they should have won pretty convincingly. There was a stage when it appeared though they were headed for another loss.
Fortunately, stubborn batting by Bhandari (35), Khakurel (15) Khadka (19), Kami (24), Pun (13) and Vesawkar (23) rescued the team from ignominy.
For the second straight match, Nepal batting looked brittle and a majority of batsmen were guilty of committing the same mistakes, getting out in the same manner.
Bhandari and Khadkha partnership steadied the innings amidst immense pressure and very tight bowling. They did their very best under challenging circumstances.
After their exit, youngster Kami and Vesawkar batted sensibly to put the team on the path to victory.
Exciting Vesawkar who remained undefeated was in the role of a defiant anchor, while talented Kami wrested the momentum from the opponent by hitting a swashbuckling 24 off 29 balls, which included three fours late in the innings.
Prior to that, the bowlers put in another brilliant performance. They combined good line, pace and accuracy to shut the lid on the opposition, restricting them to a meager 158 runs.
Upcoming Karan who went wicketless was very economical, conceding only 10 runs in 7.5 overs. Likewise, Regmi with two wickets gave away just 22 runs in 10 overs. The other wicket takers were Khadka (2), Kami (2) and Gauchan (2).
Whether you agree or not, my player of the match for Nepal has to be Kami.
Against Uganda: Super chance that went begging
A match Nepal should have won handily went begging at the end of the day in the opener against Uganda’
The gallant fight back by the tail, especially Shakti Gauchan went all in vain. It was a nerve-wracking finish that went down to the wire, with Uganda having the last laugh.
In he last five overs Nepal seemed to be headed for a crushing defeat, but when Gauchan belted two sixes in the same over, we fans sensed an improbable victory in the offing.
Our hope for a famous victory, however, was very short-lived, following the departure of Gauchan. Rest is history.
What an incredible disappointment. There is no excuse for the defeat. The cricketers have no one to blame but themselves for ruining their chances.
The bowlers spearheaded by skipper Paras Khadkha did their job exceedingly well. They bowled their hearts out, restricting the opposition to a paltry score of 146. The stage was all set for the batsmen to steal the thunder and seal victory
The winning target was 147 in 50 overs. Indeed, doable. All that was required from our batsmen was focus, commitment and sensible batting. Contrary to expectations, none of the specialist batsmen displayed the prowess to cement the innings.
When it mattered most, they failed to get going and just failed to deliver. They were totally at sea against the sensible and tight bowling of the opposition. They were victims of their own downfall as they showed poor judgment and fell to poor shots, one after another.
The defeat added extra pressure on Nepal. They could not afford to concede any one their remaining matches to be in contention for the top two positions. They have crossed the first hurdle, only barely.
Now that Team Nepal earned a hard fought victory over the Netherlands, Whatever momentum they have got, they must keep it going heading into the next game. I do hope they come out strong and prove all the doubting Thomas’ wrong.