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Back in the groove Nepal eye title

Back with the old 50-over groove after beating two ODI teams, Nepal will look to give an icing on the cake by defeating Afghanistan in their last ACC Premier League match which will serve as a final.

 

Nepal are currently second in the points table on run rate tied on six points with leaders Afghanistan and third-place Oman. A victory over the Afghans could be enough to win Nepal the title but require Oman to beat the UAE in the other match of the day.

 

The match at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday will be the sixth meeting between the two teams with the Afghans winning five times and Nepal once. Afghanistan have been an unbeatable opponent for Nepal for the last one decade.

 

When Nepal defeated Afghanistan by four wickets in the 2004 ACC Trophy plate final, the Afghans had just stepped into world cricket playing their first international match. The war-ravaged country then stunned the world with their surge in cricket leaping to Division-I in just three years and so far have played two Twenty20 World Cups before qualifying for their first ever 50-over World Cup for next year.

 

Nepal had lost to Afghanistan in the 2006, 2008 ACC Trophy third place matches, while they also beat Nepal during the 2008 ICC World Cricket League Division-V semi-final. The winning streak continued for the Afghans with the 2010 ACC Trophy final victory followed by 2013 ACC Emerging Teams Cup win.

 

Though the odds are on Afghanistan with the boastful stats, Nepal head into the tournament as a team which has risen in every means. If the disastrous 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand is to be ignored, Nepal are in the up and Afghans will have a tough time against them.

 

Nepal, now a team that played 2014 ICC World Twenty20, head into the tournament as a team that returned with clinical finishes against UAE and Hong Kong apart from ending the losing streak against the Afghans, though in the shorter format of the game.

 

Nepal had defeated Afghanistan during the World Twenty20 and a little confidence gained from that victory will give them a huge boost to their status as an improved 50-over team.

 

Skipper Paras Khadka wants his team to give a final push. “We have to carry with the same momentum we played against UAE and Hong Kong. We have seen everyone contributing in this tournament and one final push should do it for us,” Paras told cricketingnepal.com.

 

“Everyone has contributed in the team’s victory and that’s a good sign. We have seen good team effort so far. We have to think and play as a tight unit against a good opponent. We are expecting a good match,” the skipper added.

 

Afghanistan have rested their experienced batsmen in the tournament, particularly in the batting department, and Nepali bowlers will be raring to have a go at the young side. Afghanistan, however, still have been a good unit though they suffered a shocking three-run loss againstMalaysia. 

 

Last five meeting between Nepal and Afghanistan in One Day matches :-

ACC Emerging Nations Cup 2013                   Nepal lost the match by three runs in D/L method

ACC Elite Cup Trophy final 2010                   Nepal lost the match by 95 runs

ICC Division five semifinals 2008                   Nepal lost the match by three wickets

ACC Trophy 3rd palace play off 2006            Nepal lost the match by 64 runs

ACC Trophy 5th place play off 2004              Nepal won the match by 47 runs

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