Nepal ready for final frontier
Posted by Prabin the सोभित on शनिवार, मार्च 1, 2008
From The Kathmandu Post, 2008-03-01
BY PREM DHAKAL
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 – Nepal hopes to become the first team to defend the Plate Championship title of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup by turning the tables on the mighty West Indies at the Bayuemas Oval on Saturday.
The team is hoping to emulate Kaniska Chaugai-led team, which won the Plate Championship in 2006 to land the biggest victory for Nepali cricket.
The murky weather may dampen the spirits of the players buoyed by three consecutive victories after a couple of heartbreaking reversals at the hands of Sri Lanka and Australia.
It rained heavily in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday and that seems to have affected the ground as was seen when Nepali team went there for practice this morning. The outfield looked damp and with slight drizzle throughout the day and no sign of sunshine, the match looks very unlikely to start on time Saturday and may well go into the reserve day Sunday.
Weather permitting it looks to be a cracking match with Nepal set to play with freedom against West Indies, which has always been known for entertaining brand of cricket. “We have nothing to lose. We will go out and enjoy and play well as we have been doing,” Nepali skipper Paras Khadka said terming it the final frontier.
Coach Roy Dias also enthused confidence saying, “It’s not the matter of size or the height or the color of the skin. It is still a battle between the bat and the ball.”
This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams at any level so the Nepali team will not be carrying any mental baggage from the past. “We have won tight matches in this tournament and are confident,” Paras added. “We can only go out and give our best without worrying about things out of our control.”
Nepali team is hoping for the batting to come good for the first time in this tournament. “We have to bat well to beat them,” Dias conceded.
The bowlers have been instrumental in taking the team this far with Nepal scoring above four runs an over just once in this tournament against Namibia in the rain-curtailed semifinal.
Paras scored 44 in that match and that was the second highest score by a Nepali batsman after opener Mahesh Chhetri’s 62 in the league match against Namibia. Gyanendra Malla has been a failure batting at No 3 and coach Dias is set to gamble by sending him to open with wicketkeeper Mahesh pushing Anil Mandal to one-down.
“He must be feeling pressure waiting for his turn to go in. We have been winning without his contribution. So, it will be a big bonus if he clicks at the top,” Dias reasoned.
With the bowlers in good form, Nepal will be confident of defending any score above 175 but the bowlers must have to restrict West Indies to a low total if it bats first. “We can chase around 160 but anything above 180 may be difficult for the boys to chase,” Dias admitted.
The coach does not have any major injury worry and will be able to pick the best eleven.