Nepal will continue the momentum when they meet Kenya in their last league stage match of the ICC World Cricket League Division-II in Windhoek, Namibia on Friday.
Nepal’s comeback has been nothing more than a script of a fairy tale who bounced back perfectly in the tournament after losing their opening encounter against Uganda. Nepal then scalped the big teams for them in the tournament stunning the Netherlands, Canada and Namibia.
The Division-III champions are currently at the second spot in the points table on net run rate after tying with hosts Namibia. A victory against Kenya will see them through, while even a slim margin chance will keep them in hunt for promotion provided other results in the day come their way.
Canada and Netherlands both have four points each from four games and will be eyeing to vie for the final spot that will gain them promotion to Division-I and probably the luxuries in the higher level cricket under the ICC World Cricket League and Intercontinental Cup.
Namibia are seemingly through having cemented their spot in the top spot with healthy run rate and only a huge-margin defeat to the hands of a relatively weaker Canada. Netherland, meanwhile, have the ball on their court with their last game against Uganda where a huge-margin victory can give them a chance provided Nepal lose to Kenya.
Kenya and Uganda are out of promotion race with just two points from four games but both teams will be playing for their survival in Division-II. Only victory with huge margin against their respective opponents can keep them afloat.
Nepal skipper Paras Khadka wants his team to hold on for one more game. “Nothing is going to be easy for us at this level. Our target has been to qualify for Division-I and we will stay focused and keep pushing ourselves for victory (against Kenya),” said Paras.
Nepali fast bowling has been displaying its best in the tournament and coach Pubudu Dassanayake wants his bowlers to continue the rhythm. “Our fast bowling has been in a good shape. They have backed our batsmen in the best possible way. There are few players in Kenya who can be the game changers for them and we would target them,” said Dassanayake.
Nepali team’s major concern with the bat once again will be its opening department which has not yielded much in the entire tournament. The best opening stand for Nepal has been 35 runs between Naresh Budhayer and Subash Khakurel which came during a two-run loss to Uganda.
Dassanayake did ring changes by bringing in Sagar Pun in place of Naresh against Namibia but both openers were out with 27 on the board in chase of 143 runs. The biggest asset for Nepal will be the form of Paras who has already smashed back-to-back half century in the victory against Canada and Namibia.