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Inexperienced Nepal face prospect of avoiding the inevitable

Nov 07, 2019 | Cricketingnepal |

The last few years for Nepali cricket have been all about Twenty20s. The national team is yet to play 50-over competition after their participation in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Asia Qualifier and recent participations of Twenty20 International Series in Oman and Singapore.

Prior to the start of Twenty20 World Cup Asia Qualifier in Singapore in July, Nepali cricketers meeting with 50-over cricket was the Prime Minister Cup One Day National – an annual tournament the government gave to the players in absence of a cricket governing body.

Since June, Nepali cricketers have not played 50-over game and their patience to stick to the crease was not even tested. The inexperience looked obvious when the visiting Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) shut their innings down in just 45 overs as a whirlwind 21-ball 39 not out from Sandeep Lamichhane got them to face-saving 153.

The MCC side introduced spin only after 25 overs in the second day's of play on Thursday and while they bowled with consistent pace for a long period, Nepali batsmen failed to find their feet. Inside 20 overs, they were reduced to 33-5 as the experience of County cricket largely benefited the visitors.

"We are not habituated of playing three-day cricket. There were many deliveries where we needed to play with patience and hang on and they used all their experience and kept the ball at one channel. This just shows that there is a long way to go for us and why multi-day cricket is required," said Nepal's newly recruited skipper Gyanendra Malla who himself fell for a second-ball duck in his First Class cricket debut.

Nepal's batting, however, was not the only area Nepal needed to work on for. After the completion of first day when MCC posted 311-6, Gyanendra said he was initially confused over setting a proper field for the format allowing four visiting batsmen to post half centuries before their innings ended at a challenging 364.

On the contrary, MCC were right on the money. Giving glimpse of the famous "Umbrella Field", MCC began their defense with six slips, one short cover, one forward short leg and a fielder at mid on. MCC brought the pure essence of First Class cricket to the TU ground and even succeeded with their plan.

After notching up 91-2 at the end of second day in their second innings, MCC have taken an imposing lead of 302 and are in driving seat in leaving the hosts with a Herculean task. They are likely to pace their innings in the first session on Friday stretching their lead close to 400.

With Nepal's first innings not even lasting 50 overs and inexperience clearly evident in their game, even a draw has now looked inevitable. They will have a lot to do in avoiding this inevitable.


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