Afghanistan are no doubt mighty opponents to Nepal if stats of the last 10 years are to be checked. Nepal last defeated Afghanistan in 2004 ACC Trophy plate final but after that Afghanistan cricket took a huge stride and jumped to Division-I in their short journey of international cricket leaving Nepal way behind.
After coach Pubudu Dassanayake took over he reigns of Nepali cricket, he handed Nepal almost every other title in the Associate tournaments that Nepal participated in but is the navigator of the team that has not defeated Afghanistan five Twenty20 matches after he stepped in.
Dassanayake strongly believes that his side has every quality to be a Division-I team and wants to prove that by beating Afghanistan but victory over the Pashtun speakers have always been elusive to Nepal.
Nepal have been impressing the global cricketing world with their display in Bangladesh and defeating Afghanistan for the first time through the World Twenty20 is a perfect stage for them to prove their worth.
“I really want to push this game. This is the best opportunity for us to show the world the level we have,” Dassanayake told cricketingnepal.com on the eve of the match.To defeat Afghanistan — who have more experience than Nepal in terms of playing the World Cup — is always going to be tough task for them.
Nepal’s biggest confidence going into the match is how they played against Bangladesh in their second game. While Afghanistan made mistakes after mistakes against Bangladesh before being bundled out for 72 runs in their nine-wicket loss to the hosts, Nepal kept their calm making 127-5 and lost by eight wickets.
However against an Afghanistan that has strong bowling and batting attack, Nepal might have to go through another testing time in the tournament. Nepal will go with an unchanged squad and once again pin much of their hope in the middle order where Gyanendra Malla, skipper Paras Khadka and Sharad Vesawkar have been the all time performers.
Nepal vs Afghanistan head-to-head
2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers: Afghanistan won by nine wickets (seven-over game in league stage) and by seven wickets in the semi-final
2013 ACC Twenty20 Cup: Afghanisan defeat Nepal by seven wickets
2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers: Afghanistan won by 34 runs
2011 ACC Twenty20 Cup: Afghanistan won by nine wickets in semi-final (16-over match)
2007 ACC Twenty20 Cup: Afghanistan won by six wickets