Nepal must handle pressure against Hong Kong: Khadka

Published On: October 6, 2017 03:40 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Oct 6: Nepal's national cricket team is traveling to Hong Kong aiming for victories over the home team to keep its slim hope of finishing in top four in the ICC World Cricket League Championship alive.  

Since the top four sides after the championship will secure berths in the 2019 ICC World Cup Qualifiers to be held next year, sixth-placed Nepal will have to register wins in the matches against Hong Kong scheduled for October 13 and 15. 

Nepal, which has acquired eight points from 10 matches in the eight-team contest, will face fourth-placed Hong Kong at Mission Road Ground, Mong Kok. 

Hong Kong has 11 points while the Netherlands leads the points table with 16 points. Likewise, Papua New Guinea and Scotland, which also have played 10 matches, are in the second and third positions with 14 and 13 points respectively. 

Kenya is one place above Nepal with 10 points obtained from an equal number of the matches while Namibia and the United Arab Emirates are in the last two positions. Despite playing two matches more than rest of the nations, Namibia and the UAE have six points each.

Meanwhile, the wins over Hong Kong will not guarantee a top-four finish for Nepal as it also has to overcome the UAE in the last round matches and wait for the results of the other teams as well. Nepal will play two matches against the UAE at home but the fixtures are yet to be disclosed.   

Nepal's head coach Jagat Tamatta says the matches against Hong Kong are must-win for his team to keep the slim hope alive. “We know our top-four chance is not solely dependent on our results. But first we have to do our job effectively before waiting for other results,” said Tamatta. “We have to produce wins against Hong Kong and overcome the UAE in the remaining fixtures and wait for other results.” 

Tamatta also said that his players will have to score bigger runs to overcome the home side. He also expressed his concern over the size of the Mong Kok ground. “The ground where we are going to face Hong Kong is smaller than our TU Cricket Ground and that will have both advantage and disadvantage,” added Tamatta. 

“We have players who can play long shots so we can make decent runs there. But since it is their home ground, Hong Kong players will know the ground better than us,” added Tamatta.  

Nepal has been in the preparation since more than one month for the Hong Kong matches. It made India tour for the preparation where it played four practice matches. During the India tour, the Nepali team captained by Paras Khadka produced three wins and suffered one defeat against the local sides. 

Team captain Paras Khadka says that both teams know each other quite well having played numerous times in the past. “Both teams know each others' weaknesses and strengths so it will be an open contest. One who will handle the pressure on that particular day effectively will be the winner,” said skipper Khadka. 

He was happy with the preparation and the team. “Our preparation has gone well so far. We have a balanced team with equal quality in batting, bowling, and fielding,” concluded Khadka.

The Nepali team will leave for Hong Kong on October 10.  

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