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A defeat so costly

Jul 28, 2019 | Eddie Van Brooks |

Just few hours ago, Nepali fans were expecting their team to play against the settled names of Associate cricket or Full Member countries in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers in October and November.

Their national team cricketers were expected to be seen jostling around either at the ICC Academy Oval in Dubai or Sheikh Zayed International Stadium in Abu Dhabi. They were of a tough fight for one of the six spots for the 2020 ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia or at the least going through an excitement of intense competition everyone would wish for.

In about three fours, the expectations are now confined to imaginations. Nepal have disappointed and their only defeat against Singapore in any format of the game has now proved so costly.

The build-up to Sunday's match against Singapore had all been so good for Nepal with the appointment of a new coach in Umesh Patwal, an uninterrupted preparation, fine-tuning in Malaysia and a comeback after the stunning defeat to Qatar. Nepal looked set for another last moment surprise.

Although being the 11th ranked nation in Twenty20 International, they would have never liked to be in that position but another fairy-tale story seemed on the cards like it had been in the past.

"Earning something in the most difficult way gives you a great pleasure than achieving things rather easily," the team's long-time middle order mainstay Sharad Vesawkar had said after Nepal made short work of Kuwait on Saturday leaving his side to get the only win required against Singapore.

But Sunday was a debacle. It initially looked good when Sompal Kami bowled in a full throttle with excellent pace troubling Singapore openers. For a team known more for their bowling, it was a good sign. And up next, Karan KC had his revenge after alluring Surendra Chandramohan for another pull with a short ball that dropped straight into the hands of Gyanendra Malla.

Nepal had things under control giving away just 20 runs in the first four overs but after the spinners stepped in, the onslaught began. Singapore made full use of their home conditions and clobbered spinners Basanta Regmi and Sandeep Lamichhane for 88 runs in their collective eight overs.

A team which has done wonders with the ball was now left in tatters. Against a team largely dependent on skipper Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla and Sharad Vesawkar with the bat, Singapore had put their nose ahead by amassing 191-6. Once Paras and Gyanendra were gone, the uphill task was now impossible leaving Patwal, an experienced batting consultant, with a lot to ponder.

Nepal were not even their shadow and as they succumbed to 109 all out in 15 overs, probably playing their worst cricket for a while. It’s a reality check for everyone around, not only the players.  

But the pain of not going into the Global Qualifiers is going to stay for a while. This costly defeat is going to hunt us back until the Global Qualifiers are done or even when the World Twenty20 are done.


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