National team coach Pubudu Dassanayake and skipper Paras Khadka are not ready to call their ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier pool “a group of death.”
Nepal have been drawn in Group ‘B’ of the November 15-30 event to be held in UAE where the team will be tested by Division-I teams Afghanistan, Scotland, the Netherlands and Kenya along with Papua New Guinea, Bermuda and Denmark.
The tournament will send six teams in the World Twenty20 finals but the Qualifier draw has given World Cup chances for up to the fifth-placed team in the group stages.
“I don’t think any team is a big team for us in the Qualifier,” Dassanayake – who is currently in Canada, told cricketingnepal.com in an interview. “Nepal play at the same level where ODI countries do. Its about how we start the tournament and the momentum we get at the beginning,” Dassanayake said.
Nepal’s record in the Twenty20 against Afghanistan has actually been a disgrace with the team yet to taste a victory after losing their previous four encounters. While they had beaten Kenya, Denmark, Bermuda and Papua New Guinea, Nepal had lost to Netherlands by six wickets in their only meeting in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier.
Scotland are still an unknown opponent for Nepal. Skipper Paras Khadka said every team has equal chances in the Qualifier.
“Every team will be coming there with their own preparation and so do we. If we play to our potential, there is not any tough group for us,” said Paras.
The Nepali skipper believed in the team’s ability. “We have done pretty good in our outings for the last one and half year. I believe that we are now a different team than we were in the past,” said Paras.
Ireland are one of the eight teams in Group ‘A’ that includes Canada, UAE, Namibia, Hong Kong, Uganda, USA and Italy.
While the pool winners will directly enter the World Twenty20 and wait for the six-team playoff finals, teams rounding up in the top five finishes from group stage will be in the hunt for the next four spots. Two further nations will face axe from the eight-team playoff in the second round with two entering the World Twenty20 finals.
The final two countries to reach the World Twenty20 finals will be confirmed after another round of playoff between four teams and will join the six-nation playoff finals. The bottom three teams from each group in the league stages will be out of the World Twenty20 race.