Nepal finally got their much sought after win, much to everyone’s relief in the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.
The victory over Hong Kong comes at a crucial juncture as Nepal vies for the One Day International(ODI) Status spot.
Having failed in their attempt to reach the Super Sixes, there is still plenty at stake for Nepal. The last ODI Status spot is up for grabs, and, undoubtedly, it is a very big prize.
For a country like Nepal earning the ODI Status for four years means a lot. If they succeed in getting it ,it will be a significant accomplishment, and they will immensely benefit on all fronts of the sport.
It means Nepal will be eligible for more fundings from the international cricket body for the development of cricket and gets to play more international competitions.
Nepal has to battle it out for the play-off positions from 7th to 10th. Four teams, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Nepal and Papua New Guinea are in the play-offs.
The Netherlands is out of the equation because it had gained ODI status by virtue of winning the ICC World Cricket League Championship.
Thus the fight for the last ODI status spot has come down to Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong.
There are many play -off scenarios. One is,should Nepal prevail over Papua New Guinea, and Hong Kong gets beaten by the Netherlands, Nepal earns the ODI status.
In other scenarios, either Papua New Guinea or Hong Kong win their respective matches, they can pip Nepal to the finish line.
Either way, the play-offs are unpredictable and intriguing, to say the least. Going into the play-offs, Nepal has a realistic chance of attaining the ODI status provided they turn in a solid team effort.
Against winless Papua New Guinea, Nepal has a big edge,especially in the bowling department.Long as bowlers click and put in a polished performance , they are most likely to be in the driver’s seat.
Spinners will have a big role to play as Papua New Guinea is susceptible to spin. Nonetheless, they have to be at their very best to strike it rich.
Given the importance of the match, they cannot allow mediocrity seep in. They have to carry the momentum forward and remain focused and accurate.
Batting has been Achilles heel for Nepal and continues to haunt them. Poor batting has cost them a good number of high stake matches lately.
They cannot afford another lackluster batting performance that could ruin their chances to win the ODI status spot and cost the team dearly.
The batsmen have to step up and get their act together. They must overcome the shortcomings and get their mojo back .Forgetting not, the pitch is more batsman friendly,therefore, it is important that they make the most of it.
Now is the time for batsmen to make substantial contributions to put the team in a winning position. It is a now or never situation. There is no excuse for another batting failure.
Going back to the match between Nepal vs Hong Kong,the former got in the win column, largely to excellent bowling and gutsy batting from two unlikely youngsters.
Nepal tottering at 66 for 5, the game seemed slipping away. It appeared as if another inept batting collapse was imminent.
However, young Turks Rohit Kumar Paudel (48 )and Sompal Kami (37 ) came to the team’s rescue. It was a gutsy, confident, aggressive and determined batting by the two
The 89 run partnership they shared for the sixth wicket was enough to bail out Nepal and dash Hong Kong’s dream of reaching the Super Sixes.
High schooler Paudel, a hard hitting batsman, has fittingly replied to the burden of expectations rested on his young shoulders. He is a bright spot on the team’s shaky batting lineup that is causing much consternation.
It is just the beginning of a long journey for the man of the match teenage batting star. All-rounder Kami dazzled with both bat and ball,proving himself as a valuable asset to the team.
The bowlers bounced back,following a subdued performance against Afghanistan,restricting Hong Kong to a paltry 153 . Spinner duo Sandeep Lamichhane(3 wickets) and Basant Regmi (2 wickets) were at their best and dominated the proceedings.
Like always , bowling will be key to Nepal’s success against Namibia. The bowlers will need to replicate their performance.