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Who’s in ? Who’s out ?

Having already lost the opportunity to qualify directly for the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, Nepal’s ICC World Cricket League Championship’s seventh and final round matches against the United Arab Emirates will serve as an experiment.

Nepal are taking on the UAE at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday where the team will get an opportunity to test a new opening combination considering how out-of-form Sagar Pun has fared.

Sagar or Dilip?

Sagar’s best score in the WCLC is 45 which he had made as a middle order batsman against the Netherlands but in the opening department, he is yet to live up to the tag that he is wearing of a batting allrounder.

Dilip Nath is the other opener that Nepal are travelling with and having already opened for the senior side in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Bangladesh, the right hander’s appearance with Gyanendra Malla is on the cards.

The Nepali squad is filled with three spinners – Sandeep Lamichhane, Basanta Regmi and the returning Shakti Gaucha – who can complete 30 overs between them. In a squad that can also see skipper Paras Khadka and Dipendra Singh Airee bowling spin, playing Sagar as pure spinner looks a far-fetched idea.

Lalit or Karan?

National team’s new entrant Lalit Singh Bhandari had impressed in Nepal’s warm-up game against Kenya. He bowled 10 complete overs and picked up four wickets to bundle out Kenya for 110 runs laying the foundation for a six-wicket victory. But his fight for the playing XI will be against Karan KC who can prove handy with the bat when its his day.

Karan has the capacity of playing big shots and play as a genuine batsman as well. But against a UAE side unaware of both Lalit and Karan, the selection might get intense.

Bhandari or Sagar?

If Dilip wins his place for Wednesday’s first match and Sagar still finds his place as a middle order batsman, hard hitting batsman Binod Bhandari might have to lose his place. Sagar and Bhandari are currently in the most precarious position in their cricketing career having see extended forms of failure with the bat.

Bhandari was under pressure but against Hong Kong he had looked to his old self but it was only due to pressure situation created by regular fall of wickets, he ended up scoring little. Bhandari had made a 17-ball 18 against Hong Kong and was the ninth man out but only after proving himself as the same power hitter that can blitz perfectly.

Aarif, Sagar or Bhandari?

Middle order batsman Aarif Sheikh is one of the most talented batsmen Nepal have found in recent times. However, with competition getting intense even among the senior side, Aarif hardly had opportunities to prove himself.

Aarif was the second biggest contributors against Hong Kong making 23 from 40 balls with three sweetly timed boundaries. Nepal would expect a lot from him even in the future but his place itself might be under scrutiny provided other players are given chances to prove themselves. 

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