Players of Nepal’s national cricket team attend a training session in Hong Kong, on Thursday, ahead of their ICC World Cricket League Championship match against the home team scheduled for Friday.
KATHMANDU, Oct 13: Nepal is facing Hong Kong in the sixth round matches of the ICC World Cricket League Championship on Friday and Sunday.
Both encounters against home team Hong Kong at Mission Road Ground, Mong Kok, will be crucial for Nepal as the wins will be must to keep its hope alive for playing 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Nepali team is in the sixth place with eight points from ten matches in the eight team contest from where top four sides will secure their berth in the world cup qualifiers to be held in Zimbabwe next year. Nepal’s opponent Hong Kong is in the fifth position with 11 points from 10 matches.
Since the table toppers – the Netherlands – has confirmed its place in the qualifiers with 18 points even before taking on the seventh-placed team Namibia in the last encounter, the second place is wide open.
The second-placed Papua New Guinea has acquired 16 points from 12 matches, while playing the same number of the matches Scotland and Kenya have 15 and 12 points to stay in the third and fourth positions respectively.
Nepal will face the bottom team United Arab Emirates (6 points) in its final two games of the championship. Nepal needs to win not only against Hong Kong, but also against UAE in order to keep its dream of playing the world cup qualifiers alive.
Nepal will also have to wait for the results of other teams in the championship. As the last round matches of the championship will see Hong Kong playing Papua New Guinea and Scotland playing Kenya, the results from these matches also will be crucial for Nepal’s fate in the qualification.
Despite the tricky situation, Nepali head coach Jagat Tamatta had said that his team will have to do its job instead of waiting for the results of other sides. “Before thinking about other teams, we must do our job, and that is registering wins over Hong Kong and UAE as well in last round,” Tamatta had said before leaving for Hong Kong.
Nepal has set a target of hitting big score against Hong Kong as the size the Mong Kok ground is small. “Given the size of the ground, our target will be making big runs. Even the lower order batsmen can play big shots so I am hopeful of my team making large score,” Tamatta had said.
However, Nepali team’s target of making big runs could be hampered as its reliable batsman Sharad Vesawkar will miss both matches against Hong Kong due to illness.
With 321 runs, Vesawkar is Nepal’s second highest scorer behind skipper Paras Khadka in the championship. He will be replaced by Naresh Bahadur Budhayer.
Due to the absence of Vesawkar in the team, there could be the changes in the batting-line up.
Skipper Khadka who has made 352 runs for Nepal throughout the competition is likely to come to bat in the third number in Vesawkar’s absence.