Kathmandu- Having qualified for the super league quarterfinals already, Nepal U19 have nothing to lose, even if they lose against, neighbor-cricketing giants India U19, when they face them tomorrow (1st February, 2016), at Sher-e Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur. The match that starts at 8:45 NPT has already generated a huge buzz among Nepal Cricket fans and will be aired on Star Sports.
Nepal U19 have inhaled a lot of confidence after two magnificent wins in the first two games of the competition and that should get them all prepared to face their rivals. If one takes those two wins as a surprise, specifically the win against New Zealand U19, then the person is wrong. More than surprise and luck, Nepal have won due to their hard work in the field and their strength.
One thing is surprise for sure. And that is Nepal’s batting. No generation of cricketers have gathered runs so confidently and sensibly as they are doing now. If one among, Sunil Dhamala, Yogendra Karki, Raju Rijal and Aarif Sheikh, can step up to play a big innings, tomorrow’s match will go down to wire.
Sandeep Lamichhane’s splendid hat-trick yesterday is an example of Nepal’s quality spin attack. Sunil Dhamala, Prem Tamang and Sushil Kandel too have performed when needed. The only concern for Nepal will be the fast bowling attack. Aarif Sheikh needs a partner who can bowl effectively with the new ball. Choosing Dipesh Shrestha ahead of a spinner will be a wise idea, I suppose. Remember, India’s first four wickets against Ireland and first two wickets against New Zealand fell to fast bowlers.
Undefeated in the last 10 matches, India U19 are firmly the favorites to win match and the competition as well. Though they have recorded comprehensive wins in the first two matches, they have struggled, especially the top order. However, their middle and lower order batsman and their bowlers haven’t yet let the team’s fame down. Sarfaraz Khan, who plays for the Royal Challenger Banglore in the IPL, rescued the team on both occasions with 74 runs in each match after the team slumped to 2 for 19 against New Zealand and 4 for 55 against Ireland.
In the bowling department, right-arm medium pacer Avesh Khan (six wickets in two matches) and slow left armer, 16 years old, Mahipal Lomoror (seven wickets in two matches) have combined well to share 13 wickets between them in just two matches.
Tomorrow’s match will be a battle of spinners. As the tournament proceeds, the pitch is offering a lot for the spin bowlers. Nepal’s leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, India’s left-arm spinner Mahipal Lomror and Zimbabwe’s offspinner Wesley Madhevere have taken five-fors in the tournament in the space of two days.
- Nepal have lost just 9 wickets in the first two matches, while India U have lost 17 wickets.
- India have gathered runs at 5.26 runs per over, while Nepal U19 at 4.91 per over.
- Nepal’s leg break Sandeep Lamichhane and India’s slow left arm Mahipal Lomoror, both got five wickets haul in their respective matches. Lamichhane five-for in the second match included a hat-trick, the first of U19 world Cup 2016, and 5th
Head to Head, Nepal U19 VS India U19 (0-2)
India U19 defeated Nepal U19 by 8 wickets in the U19 world cup 2000, when they faced each other in the quarter finals. India U19 team then was led by Mohhammad Kaif. He scored an unbeaten half century, while, Yuvraj Singh took four wickets in that match.
Nepal suffered nine wickets defeat against India in the U-19 Asia Cup 2014.
Player to watch out:
Aarif Sheikh (Nepal)- The vice-captain of Nepal U19 team had very less to do in the first two match. His expertise with both bat and ball can come handy against India tomorrow.
Sarfaraz Khan (India)- The Royal Challengers Banglore player has already dug out his team out of trouble two times in this compitetion, with 74 runs in each innings. He can threaten Nepali bowlers tomorrow as well.