Chitwan – After the all-round performance- improved batting, disciplined bowling and better captaincy against Hong-Kong earlier day Nepal keep their hopes of retaining the trophy alive.
However, the match against the arch-rivals Afghanistan will decide the top position. It won’t be over for the losing team though; they will have to wait for the result between UAE and Oman hoping UAE wins but with a small margin. As Afghanistan is on the top of the table after the 4th day of action, chances are better for them also if them loose too. It’s a game of uncertainty, anything can happen. Both the teams will look to win tomorrow to ensure their place in the finals at Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur 7:45 NPT onward.
When Nepal takes on Afghanistan whatever would be the situation or circumstances, pressure and expectations are at their best. Neither of them would give it up till the very last moment, competition in between the competition takes place, loss to another can be accepted but to arch-rivals; no never, as frenetic and as pressurizing as Indo-Pak game.
Last time these two giants of Asian cricket met in ICC Twenty-20 World Cup in Bangladesh, Nepal crunched the arch rivals by 9 runs. Nepal made respectable 142 giving Afghans some sort of challenge to maintain the tempo and pressure, they failed and Nepal registered their first ever win against them in T20 cricket. But the scenario now is totally different, a different mindset with different form of game and different temperament.
Nepal has won three of the four matches played and stands second on the point table. Bowlers did it for them in first two matches and batsmen did it in the fourth. Nepalese strike bowler Sompal Kami is in prime form picking up 14 wickets so far- the best by any bowler in this tournament, also the disciplined spin attack has paid for them. With overall improved performance, Nepal would look to upset Afghanistan in tomorrow’s last match of the tournament.
On the other hand, Afghanistan had looked a total side in this tournament. Their batting struggled a bit against the Malaysia but apart from that there is very little for them to be worried about. They have always played like a champion against Nepal and will look to continue that. Knowing it’s a must win game for both the team to remain alive in the tournament pressure will certainly would be on both the teams. The one which handles it better will end up winning tomorrow.
Pitch and Toss:
It’s an early start to the match so there might be something for the seamers early on off the deck and air. But after first powerplay as the moisture flies away there will be nothing for the seamers. Pitch will start gripping and ball will turn odd balls my keep low. Last match played here, the team batting first struggled against seam bowling. Seamers picked up 5 wickets in total clearly suggesting there is something for the seamers early on.
Toss will play a part tomorrow, the team winning the toss will look to bowl first, help for the seamers, wet and heavy outfield might be the reasons.
Something around 200-220 must be the team batting first looking around. Batting in this surface will ease quite a bit but not massively so team batting first must get to somewhere them to challenge the opposition.
There won’t be any changes in both the teams, they looked good and fit.
Subash Khakurel (wk), Naresh Budayair, Gyanendra Malla, Paras Khadka (C), Sharad Vesawakar, Aarif Sheikh, Mehboob Alam, Binod Bhandari, Basant Regmi, Shakti Gauchan, Sompal Kami
NA Zadran, U Ghani, H Shaidi, N Ahmadzai, S Shenwari, M Nabi(C), M Ashraf, D Zadran, Shafiqullah (WK), S Zadran, A Hamza
Afghanistan being a ODI nation and recently have qualified for the Asia Cup and the world cup has an upper hand on Nepal before the match starts.