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Nepal set for first ever battle against Test team

Mar 03, 2018 | Cricketingnepal |
In their first ever meeting against a Test playing side in 50 overs, Nepal are taking on Zimbabwe in the opening Group 'B' match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Bulawayo on Sunday

In a pool that also consists of Test cricket's new entrants Afghanistan along with fellow Associates Scotland and Hong Kong, the match will give a perfect opportunity to weigh themselves ahead of upcoming matches which are going to be crucial for them.

Although the biggest prize that Qualifiers provides is a dream spot in the 2019 World Cup, Nepal have set their eyes on Super Six which is likely to give them One Day International Status, Inter-Continental Cup and World Cricket League Championship. The entry into the Super Six will ensure that Nepali cricket remains busy for the next four years. 

But to make sure they don't return from Zimbabwe, they have to bring their 'A' game against all their opponents as suggested by skipper Paras Khadka. "If we bring our 'A' game or all the boys play to their potential, we can give them (Zimbabwe) a good fight," Paras had said before leaving for the tournament. 

The Qualifiers is the toughest tournament Nepal have ever played in their cricket history. With two other Test nations -- once world cricket's heavyweights West Indies and another new entrant Ireland -- sitting as favourites from Group 'A', Nepal can still return with a lifetime experience of playing in the Qualifiers. 

Zimbabwe former captain and now a coach of the national team, Heath Streak, said his side was going to enjoy the game. “Playing in our home conditions and having home support is special for us. I’ve played here in the 2003 World Cup, and it’s really uplifting. So, to play in front of our home supporters is really going to be enjoyable,” said Streak adding the pitch at Queens might support his bowling attack.

“I think the wickets here are really good and flat and suit our bowling attack a bit better, especially with the overhead conditions. We have really good swing bowlers in our attack, and our batters are used to batting here at the Queens and the BAC, which are really good batting strips.We are in a tough group and cannot take any team lightly, but we are looking forward to the challenge ahead," Streak told the ICC on the eve of the match. 

Against a strong bowling attack, Nepali openers Dilip Nath and Gyanendra Malla must give Nepal a desired start to make sure the middle order builds on their partnership.

Skipper Paras said his side will be without pressure when they take to the field against Zimbabwe. “Pressure is probably on the bigger teams, but for us, we have the belief that we can go all the way through and for that we will have to take one game at a time,” Paras told the ICC.


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