What happens when a team in form clashes against a team out of form? You might answer; obviously, the team in form might win the contest. But, let me remind you that this is a T20 format and anything can happen in this format. There are a lot of records in this format that a weaker team has defeated a strong team and a team in a good form has crashed out from the first round.
So has been the story of Nepal and Hong Kong. At a time when Hong Kong are flying high with wins over teams like Zimbabwe,Ireland and Netherlands, Nepal are fighting hard to record any win.
Hong Kong’s dream run continued from the ICC world cup qualifiers in New Zealand where they nearly made it to the world only to fall behind Scotland and UAE. In the contrary, Nepal’s dream run ended from that tournament where they managed a single win finishing 9th.
However, in the last encounter between these two teams, Nepal got a upper hand over Hong Kong thanks to some late heroics from Sharad Veswakar that saw them qualify for this mega event. With just 24 hours away from the game, in everyone’s mind there is only one question right now and that is” who will win the game between these two”, ? Whatever be the result, with no doubt , it would be a interesting clash as both these would look to make their first “world cup” debut a memorable one with a win. Here is a short preview between them
Hong Kong Batting: Hong Kong’s batting stars with a formidable opening pair of Irfan Ahmed and Waqas Barkat who have consistently given a good opening partnership. Irfan has been outstanding recently and how he performs will largely determine Hong Kong’s fate as he has been contributing with the ball too. Going down the order, we can find Captain Jamiee Atkinson,Babar Hayat, Nizakat Khan and Mark Champman all contributing in recent matches. The addition of oldies Najeeb Amar and Munir Dar and balanced the side very well.
Bowling: Fast bowlers Haseeb Amjad, Tanwir Afzal, Eshan Nawaz and Irfan Ahmed will be expected to cause a lot of problems to the Nepali batsman as they are often criticised for not handling fast bowlers well. Haseeb Amjad has been in the form of his life as he was the leading wicket taker in the qualifying tournament in New Zealand with 20 wickets from 7 games. He wrapped up Netherlands batsman with a figure of 6-21 in the practice match. Spinners Najeeb Amar, Naseeb Ahmed and Nizakat Khan might use the condition of Bangladesh well to trouble Nepali batsman.
Weakness: Hong Kong team struggles particularly with spin and slow bowling. Basanta Regmi has taken seven wickets in the last two encounters against Hong Kong including the match winning 4 wickets in the T20 qualifiers.
Nepal team is heavy on spin attack. How they presents themselves tomorrow will likely determine the fate of the match.
Probable XI: Irfan Ahmed, Waqas Barkat, Jamie Atkinson, Babar Hayat, Nizakat Khan, Mark Champman, Munir Dar, Tamwir Afzal, Najeeb Amar, Haseeb Amjad, Eshan Nawaz.
Recent Form: LWWWW
Nepal Batting: Batting has always been a serious problem for Nepal,especially the opening batting. Still Nepal hasn’t found a good partner for Subash Khakurel. So, Pradep Airee is likely to take the place of Sagar Pun or the coach might give Sagar Pun another chance. The middle order looks good with Gyanendra Malla, Paras Khadka, Sharad Veswakar and Binod Bhandari. Gyanendra has been brilliant in the parctice matches.
Bowling: The 18 year fast bowler old Sompal Kami will be a surprise for Hong Kong. They haven’t faced him yet so it might cause some problem to them. He is likely to lead the pace attack along with Jitendra Mukhiya. In the spin department, Basanta has a very good record against Hong Kong. He is expected to do one more magic. Shakti Gauchan can bowl well.
Overall, Nepal are likely to use the condition in Bangladesh with spin attack to make it for Nepal.
Weakness: Handling pace bowling has always been a setback for Nepal. Except Paras Khadka and Sharad Veswakar,others have found it difficult to play fast bowlers. If they can score some quick runs in the powerplay without losing any wickets they can post a good total on the board or can chase any target.
Probable XI: Subash Khakurel, Pradeep Airee, Gyanendra Malla,Paras Khadka, Binod Bhandari, Sharad Veswakar, Sagar Pun, Basanta Regmi, Shakti Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Jitendra Mukhiya.
Recent Form: WLWLL
Head to Head: Played matches: 5 Nepal: 3 Hong Kong : 2