Kathmandu – September 6th 1996, a very special day in the history of Nepali cricket, after a long wait Nepali senior men team took on the Asian tigers in their first ever recognized international match in ACC Trophy in Singapore . Bangladesh scored a good looking 213 for the loss of 9 wickets giving Nepal a stiff target of 214 which Unfortunately, Nepal lost by low scoring rate as the match was haulted in 39.2 overs. Since then, Nepal has never played against Bangladesh in any format. After 18 years Nepal will be facing Bangladesh today 7:30PM (7:15 NST) onwards at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong.
What we saw a day earlier was simply extraordinary from Nepal, improved batting and some excellent spin bowling, restricting one of the best of associate community to the second ever lowest total of T20Is history (69), first being 68 for Irish against WI, also Shakti Gauchan now claims the second most economical bowling figures in T20 format, most economical being BAW Mendis (4-2-8-6-2.00) & Mahamudullah (4-1-8-1-2.00), after that magical performance of 3-9 in his quota of 4 overs, Basant Regmi also joined the party with 3 wicket. Batting which was being the main concern for Nepali team showed good improvement getting 149 first time batting first since 2013, G Malla was the highest scorer for Nepal with 48 and Khadka followed him with 41 at an impressive strike rate.
Bangladesh defeated Afghans in their first match rather comprehensively; Afghans after being put into bat by Bangladesh tumbled to 72 out of which 12 were extras, Shakib Al Hasan, star Bangladeshi all-rounder, bowled beautifully to pick up 3-8 in 3.1 overs with an exceptional economy of 2.52. In reply, Bangladesh chased down this total in 12 overs, A Haque, 19 years old kid being a hero scoring 44.
After the day one of the qualifying round, both the team have grabbed two points but Nepal is leading the group A by the virtue of net run rate, match between these two team will almost make sure of a team qualifying to the main tournament. P Khadka, the Nepali captain talking to media after the match said, “Nepal and Nepali team knows the importance of the match against Bangladesh, we will look to give them a stiff challenge.” Not much of difference in last five T20s that each teams have played, In last matches Nepal has won only two matches, whereas Bangladesh has won three, in paper Bangladesh looks much more impressive, Some days ago Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan talking to media said “We won’t be making a mistake underestimating Nepal, we will look to play our A game against them.”
Pitch Report and Weather Forecast
The pitch has little green grass no surprisingly to help seamers early on, later on it will be spin blower dominating. There was hardly any dew in the first inning but it played its part in the second inning helping the arm bowlers to skid of the pitch. Also, the boundaries are long than you’d often see in Bangladeshi grounds. Batsman will find no difficult to play their shots in this pitch but as the game goes on, odd balls will climb and some might keep low too. The average score for any side in T20s played here is 136 and only 32% of the teams batting first have won the match here before.
Weather is cricket friendly, it’s early season for cricket here in the sub-continent. It will be hot and humid; the optimum temperature is around 24 degrees but might be slightly more towards the start of the game somewhere around 27 degrees, minimum temperature will be around 18 degrees so the weather will be like wow! made for cricket.
What if you win the toss? Spin is the main weapon for both the teams, Not surprisingly, boundaries are big and there hasn’t been dew as expected also ball will come nicely on to the bat early on so the captains will feel no hesitation on batting first. But it won’t really amuse me if any captains opt to bowl first in this sort of pitch reason being the pitch is seamers friendly early on.
Teams and Match Officials
I don’t think any of the team will look to make any changes in their wining side, but S Khakurel was injured taking an outside edge of I Ahmad, there is no official news whether he is fit or not which will be a concern for Nepal. The Nepali Team likely to play is: S Khakurel (wk), S Pun, G Malla, P Khadka (c), B Bhandari, N Budayair, S Vesawakar, B Regmi, S Gauchan, S Kami, J Mukhiya
The Bangladeshi team might not make any changes too, likely the team will be: T Iqbal, A Haque, S Hasan, M Rahim (wk) (c), N Hossain, S Rahman, Mahmudullah, F Reza, M Mortaza, Al-Amin, A Razzak.
1) On field Umpires: Rod Tucker, Aleem Dar
2) Third Umpire : S Ravi
3) Fourth Umpire: Paul Reiffel
4) Match refree: Javagal Srinath