With high hopes, the Nepali national cricket team is all set to take on USA on Friday as the well know foes begin their campaign of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Ireland.
Although, the qualifier kicked off on Thursday in Ireland and Scotland, Nepal will play its first match of Group A against USA at Stormont, Belfast in Ireland at 19:00 NST.
Nepal has aimed for top finish despite all odds and confirmed its journey to India for the ICC World Twenty20 finals slated for 11 March to 3 April next year.
Despite the pain of earthquake at home, Nepal had a sound preparation for the tournament. Nepal played 14 matches as part of the preparations for the Qualifiers including four match T20I series against the Netherlands. Nepal travelled to India, England and the Netherlands for the purpose. However, Nepal won only one among last six T20 matches with one being washed out.
Although, Nepal has upper hand against USA as former has won 11 encounters among 19 in international fixtures, it will be the first time the two sides will be locking horns in the T20 Qualifiers.
Despite unfavorable results in last few matches, Nepal is planning to take on USA eying victory with the view to gain momentum for the event. Nepal’s coach Pubudu Dassanayake believes that his side is all prepared to face the well-known opponent and begin the journey of the qualifier on positive note.
“First game is always important for the momentum and team is ready for the tournament,” said Nepali team coach Dassanayake to Republica. He also informed that all players were fit enough for the qualifier and there were no injury concern. “All [players] are fit,” said coach Dassanayake, who, however, refused to name the final squad against USA. “We are clear about the final XI, however, won’t be able to publish it before the start of match,” he added.
Before, the kick off of the qualifier, Nepali team is struggling for openers and team also experimented different pair for the job in last few weeks. The match against USA will be important to see whether the experiment works.
Coach Dassanayake, however, has been expecting that the problems will be solved as team is coping up well in the European condition. As Nepali is aiming high, the USA has is also expected to give tough challenge to its opponent and qualify for India. However, its plan faced a big blow due to withdrawal of wicketkeeper/batsman Steven Taylor, who was capable to face high-class bowling.
But, former U-19 skipper Shiva Vashishat and new comer Alex Amsterdam could be threat for Nepal.
NEPAL: Paras Khadka (captain), Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Shakti Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Subash Khakurel, Siddhant Lohani, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Mandal, Jitendra Mukhiya, Rajesh Pulami, Sagar Pun, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar
USA: Muhammad Ghous (captain), Alex Amsterdam, Fahad Babar, Adil Bhatti, Akeem Dodson, Karan Ganesh, Naseer Jamali, Japen Patel, Mrunal Patel, Timil Patel, Hammad Shahid, Jasdeep Singh, Nicholas Stanford, Timothy Surujbally, Shiva Vashishat