Nepal must come out all guns blazing against Bangladesh

Fairfax – The highly anticipated clash between Nepal and India in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Cricket tournament in Bangladesh proved to be a bit of an anti-climax at the end.

For die-hard fans like me, it was quite a disappointment to see Nepal succumb to a crashing seven-wicket loss. Without a shred of doubt, India comprehensively outplayed Nepal in every department of the game. The victory they achieved with ease was/is the mark of a truly dominant performance.

Skipper Raju Rijal, took the harsh defeat sportingly and with grace, and rightly so. He acknowledged losing to a superior opponent and emphasized the importance of learning lessons from defeat. I hope they do so.

There is no shame in losing to a team like India, which enjoys excellent infrastructure facilities, strong domestic cricket and the best tools to succeed.

By defeating New Zealand, Ireland and reaching the super league quarter- final, our cricketers have already proved their class and worth. There is no denying that they can perform much better.

That being said, on the day, Nepal’s effort was not good enough to upset the apple cart. Over all, players lacked mental application, concentration and technique, coupled with inconsistency.

The batsmen failed to take advantage of the good batting pitch, struggled from the word go and lost wickets at regular intervals.

Nonetheless, they managed to hang around doggedly till the end largely due to useful knocks from Sandeep Sunwar (37), Rajbir Singh (35), Prem Tamang (29) and Aarif Sheikh (26).

One silver lining for Nepal’s loss was the batting, with their innings lasting full 48 overs.

For India pacer Avesh Kumar paved the way for victory by picking up 3 wickets. However, openers Rishab Pant (78) and Ishan Kishan (52) power packed batting brought Nepal to their knees. They shared 124 runs for the first wicket and made batting look easy.

India colts under the watchful eyes of former India captain Rahul Dravid overtook Nepal’s total in just 19 overs. The Nepali bowlers had no answers, especially to Pant’s aggressive sweeping and pulling in his record breaking 78 runs off just 24 balls.

The bowling unit was reduced to a shadow of the former self. Prem Tamang claimed two wickets, while Sandeep Lamichhane added one more wicket to his kitty.

Going by Nepal’s performance against India, both batsmen and bowlers have left plenty of room for improvement. The bowlers must maintain their composure, increase their confidence level and find a way to bounce back strong.

It is imperative that our youngsters learn from their mistakes and deliver the goods. They will need to put in a solid performance whether it is batting or bowling to stand a chance against Bangladesh. Undoubtedly, victory is doable.

Despite high odds, our cricketers have performed splendidly, boldly and with aplomb in recent years. They have achieved more than they could have ever expected and one could not ask for more.

There is so much talent in this side but needs to be nurtured in the right direction. With the right kind of support, exposure and opportunities, I strongly believe, talent like leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane who completed a brilliant hat -trick against Ireland in the ongoing World Cup can turn into a world-class player.

Sadly, we have seen many a talent go waste over the decades. The real culprit, here, responsible for the sad state of affairs in Nepal cricket is the incompetent Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and uncaring government.

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