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Spinners' supremacy and batting headache

Jul 18, 2017 | Eddie Van Brooks |

National team coach Binod Das said this is the first time that I am finding our U-19 team so good. Binod’s statement has so far been a good sign for Nepal as it is currently undergoing U-19 World Cup Division 1 Asia Qualifier in Singapore. Come goodness, Nepal will be in the ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand next year.

But into their second match, Binod’s statement is yet to be justified because everyone knows why the coach has so much faith in the team – a straight forward answer is he must be pinning hopes on Nepal’s batting.

Considering the two matches that Nepal have won so far, the goodness is still to be evident. After struggling in their four-wicket victory over Singapore in the tournament opener on Monday when Nepal bundled out the hosts Singapore for just 73 runs, Binod’s belief was once again shaken after their team lost five wickets in chase of another lowly target.

Nepal bundled out Malaysia for just 58 runs after spinners set them on course for what could have been another big victory but they went on to lose five wickets. Although Nepal went on to win the game in 10 overs, the team failed to return with a big-margin win and concurrently it has exposed batting frailties.


Batsmen should mean business

Gone are the days of Mehboob Alam and then-captain-now-coach Binod who had terrorized opponents at this level with their pace firepower. For a long time, Nepali squad has been winning u-19 tournaments on the back of their spinners. And in a team that is led by leg spinning sensation Sandeep Lamichhane, the current squad is not an exception.

Sandeep was once again the architect of Nepal’s victory over Malaysia on Tuesday picking up 5-17 – his second consecutive five-wicket haul in the tournament. But being a top class spinner, picking up wickets against the sides that have hardly put up any fight in age group tournaments.

And added to the squad is Pawan Sarraf and Shahab Alam, there is no way any age group teams from Singapore or Malaysia will manage to negotiate with this class of spinning bowlers. The spin trio of Sandeep, Sarraf and Shahab is obvious to put teams like Singapore and Malaysia in a spin. But they are not the only teams in the tournament.

The Afghan giants are coming and the trio’s effort could fall short. Nepali spin trio can stem the run flow against Afghans and taking an account of their aggressiveness in the first two matches, we can expect runs to leak from them in a proportion that could be ominous for Nepal. Nepal’s batting in the Qualifier hitherto says so.

If Nepal is to gain an edge against the Afghans, their batsmen need to deliver. Spinners can deliver but Afghanistan has been showing boating class with their age group cricket as well. They cantered to victory against Malaysia in just 5.4 overs and 17 overs against Singapore, suggesting they mean business.

The business should now belong to Nepali batsmen who need to make full use of all their experiences in a recent preparation tour of India and exposure of playing against senior players at domestic tournaments.

Nepal 19 VS Malaysia U19

Malaysia U19 - 58/10 in 25.5 overs

Haiqal Khair - 9 runs in 27 balls (1 four)


Sandeep Lamichhane - 8.5-1-17-7

Pawan Sarraf - 3-1-9-3

Sandeep Sunar - 2-0-3-1

Kishor Mahato - 5-0-9-1


Nepal U19 - 61 for 5 in 9.5 overs

Aasif Sheikh - 23 runs in 20 balls (5 fours)

Pranit Thapa Magar - 18 not out in 12 balls (1 four, 1 six)


Nepal U19 won the match by 5 wickets with 241 balls remaining

Man of the match - Sandeep Lamichhane 


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