Fairfax – With three successive defeats Nepal’s extraordinary slump in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Belfast, Ireland has come to a disastrous end.
It is end of the road for Nepal, following their latest loss to Papua New Guinea and Jersey.
Obviously, batting woes spelt the death knell for the side that carried high hopes going into the competition.
They needed a stable and very strong batting performance, coupled with a concerted effort of the entire team to stand any chance of making it to the final round, but it never materialized.
Nepal did get off to a perfect start but failed miserably to capitalize on the good start.
No wonder, they found themselves in a deep sink, they dug for themselves and were unable to pull themselves out, thus ending a very frustrating, unproductive campaign.
Overcoming a run of poor form, coupled with physical exhaustion and mental fatigue, Team Nepal basked in glory at the expense of the United States of America. We could not have asked for a better result.
The six-wicket win does appear pretty convincing and impressive in paper but it was not so. The winners had to fight for every run and managed victory in the final over.
Nevertheless, a win is a win, no matter how it is registered. Even more important, a winning start was vital for the team that seemed to have gone astray lately, which they achieved
The sloppiness displayed by the team in tune-up matches was a big concern and had left fans scratching their heads and doubt their chances.
The win was a big relief for everybody and a very important one, especially under devastating circumstances.
Two veterans experienced left-arm spinner Shakti Gauchan and reliable batsman Gyanendra Malla came to out with solid performances to help lift Nepal to victory.
Their contribution came at a crucial time, paving the way for the team’s victory. Under ideal conditions, the bowlers exploited the Stormont pitch and consistently bowled, giving little liberty to batsmen.
Gauchan and Regmi bowled vigorously, scalping three wickets each, while Kami accounted for two.
Man of the match Gauchan ‘s double strike in the 13th over turned the tide in favor of Nepal. His guile, flight and accuracy had the batsmen in all sorts of problems.
The prized wicket of Akeem Dodson who looked threatening by Gauchan made the big difference. The final nail in the coffin was nailed when he removed J Patel in the same over to restrict the opposition to a paltry score.
Nepal withstood yet another shaky start in their run chase, but the batsmen did not let the bowlers brilliant work go in vain. Despite losing an early wicket, the partnership of youngster AK Mondal and Malla yielded 80 plus runs through some luck.
Malla played a stellar role making 53 with a flurry of hits to the boundary, while Mondal made a useful 29.
Skipper Paras Khadkha’s 21 not out proved crucial in the later stage of the innings. He marshaled the bowlers intelligently and had his side motivated through out.
Nepal’s important tie against Namibia was a big disappointment in terms of outcome. Our struggling batters desperately in search of form certainly could have benefitted from the game that ended prematurely due to rain. Although both teams shared a point, they lost valuable playtime, thus making their progress in the competition more challenging and intriguing.
Nepal badly needed a morale boosting performance against the formidable Ireland to lift themselves up. The situation warranted a solid and sensible batting to stand any chance of success.
Contrary to expectations, what we witnessed was a complete batting collapse and a humiliating defeat. The batters literally wilted under pressure, meekly surrendering their wickets without a fight, one after another.
Over all, it was a display of very poor batting. I have nothing more to say. The Irish bowlers intelligently exploited the wet condition to their favor and restricted the opposition to a paltry total of 53 runs.
On the day, Ireland outsmart, outplayed and outclassed Nepal. There was very little our helpless bowlers could do to stop the opponent from running away with the game in just 8 overs.
Against Hong Kong
Following the crushing defeat at the hands of Ireland, a battered and bruised Nepal was in a must win situation against Hong Kong to keep their hopes alive in the tournament.
They had to regroup, restore confidence, overcome mediocrity and perform to their potential. Unfortunately that did not happen, especially with the batting.
As a result, the team paid a heavy price for another batting fiasco. The batters for the second straight game looked so mentally and technically out of sorts. It appeared though they were suffering a mental block.
The bowlers did their best despite the pressure of having to defend a small score measly total.
In a nutshell, pathetic batting performances largely contributed to Nepal’s downfall.
Against Papua New Guinea
Team Nepal still had to bat exceptionally well against a team that stunned Ireland. Instead the batsmen continued with their awful form and fell apart without a semblance of a fight back. Rest is history.
Nepal signed off on a losing note, going down to Jersey. Apart from a fighting 27 from Siddhant Lohani, it was another familiar story of batting collapse.
The tournament has turned out to be a major disappointment for the team and fans.