Kathmandu- Nepal is playing against Pakistan today at Abu Dhabi. Despite being only a practice match Nepalese fans have created a big buzz about facing Pakistan. To be fair it’s a big deal Nepal to be playing against Cricketing giant Pakistan.
Pakistan only recently won the Test Series against England and are currently the number 2 ranked Test Team in the world. Pakistan have announced their ODI squad for the upcoming ODI series against England under the captainship of Azhar Ali. It will be members of the same squad that will feature against Nepal.
Nepal have only dreamt of playing cricket at same level with Pakistan. However Nepal’s U19 team history has fond memories with Pakistan.
Nepal’s first victory against a youth side of test playing nation came against Pakistan in the
U19 World Cup 2002, when Nepal U19 defeated Pakistan U19 by 30 runs in a Group C match that also consisted England U19 and Papua New Guinea U19.
.Shakti turned the match in Nepal’s favor picking the wicket of Khaqsan Arsal, who was batting on 24- at a crucial time when Pakistan were 83/3, chasing just 152 runs. He went on to pick three wickets in 10 overs he bowled, conceding just 19 runs at 1.90 runs per over.
Nepal, England and Pakistan finished with two wins each after the completion of group match. However, Pakistan and England progressed to the super league due to their superior run rate.
If Pakistan fields a complete team against Nepal under the leadership of Azhar Ali- the right handed batting star and Nepal’s spin wizard Shakti Gauchan will be facing each other again. Azhar, who batted at no.9 in that match remained not out on 8 runs off 17 balls.
Sanjam Regmi, who took the final wicket of Umar Gul, to hand Nepal a historical win, recalls the match saying: “It was an important win for us. It motivated us a lot and we went to win the match against Bangladesh U19.”
Sanjam and Shakti were on the charts again when Nepal defeated Pakistan Cricket Academy team by 15 runs in the final match of a three match series in Kathmandu on May, 2008.
Sanjam, who is not in the team that plays against Pakistan says, “Pakistan Cricket Academy came to play against Nepal in May, 2008 with a strong team that included players like Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor Khan, Rahil Majid, Wahad Riaz, Mohammad Aamer, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan, Adil Raza, Naeem Anjum, Ahmed Shehzad, Fawad Alam, Azhar Ali, Syed Imad Wasim, Ali Asad, Anwar Ali Khan, and Sarfaraz Ahmed. The team had just toured Bangladesh and were undefeated. We lost the first two matches but we defeated them by 15 runs in the final match.”
“Shakti scored an unbeaten 50 runs to help Nepal reach 138 runs from a position of 45/6 in 11 overs. Later, I finished with a five wicket haul that helped us us win the match.”
When asked about Nepal chances of winnings tomorrow’s match, he said, “Its the exposure we seek from the match Pakistan. I don’t think winning or losing is important. But, yes, we certainly have to win against Papua New Guinea.”
Nepal’ squad- Paras Khadka (C), Gyanendra Malla (VC), Subash Khakurel(WK), Basant Regmi, Shakti Prasad Gauchan, Sagar Pun, Anil Kumar Mandal, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Mahesh Kumar Chhetri, Mahaboob Alam, Sharad Vesawkar, Prithu Baskota, Irshad Ahmed, Naresh Bahadur Budhayer and Bikram Sob.
Pakistan’s squad- Shoaib Maqsood, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali (C), Muhammad Hafeez, Younus Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Aamir Yamin, Rahat Ali, Zafar Gohar, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Rizwan.