Nepal faces Hong Kong today
Posted by Prabin the सोभित on शुक्रवार, जुलाई 25, 2008
BY UJJWAL ACHARYA, THE KATHMANDU POST, July 24
Nepal starts with a tough test in the ACC Trophy Elite 2008 facing Hong Kong in the opening match at the Selangor Turf Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday.
Hong Kong, which played against India and Pakistan in the recent Asia Cup, and Nepal, the semifinalist last time, will be looking for a good start in the event that has the grand prize of Asia Cup berth to the finalists.
“It is always good to start any tournament with a win, regardless of who your opponents are,” Hong Kong captain Tabarak Dar said in an interview. “But winning against a team as strong and consistent as Nepal would give us a huge confidence boost.”
Nepal and Hong Kong are in Group B of the event along with Kuwait, Qatar and Singapore. Four-time champion United Arab Emirates will face tough challenge from Afghanistan and host Malaysia in Group A that also consists Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
This is the tournament that Nepal, especially the senior players, can not afford to lose. After semifinal disappointment in the World Cricket League Division 5 in Jersey, some of the top players are under scrutiny and Nepal’s failure to reach the final in Malaysia is more than likely to invite big changes in the team.
“We all know how important this tournament is for us and our cricket,” Nepali captain Binod Das had said before leaving for the event. “And, I hope we will set the tune right from the first match.”
Statistically, Hong Kong has the upper hand having won three of the four meetings. It had defeated Nepal by identical margins of six wickets in 1996 and 1998 editions of ACC Trophy while it had a big 179-run win the semifinal of 2000 ACC Trophy. In 2006 event, Nepal defeated it comprehensively by 87 runs in the league stage.
The recent form of Hong Kong is not up to the scratch. Despite having an edge with experience of playing big guns in the Asia Cup, it lost to host Malaysia by 31 runs in a friendly match a week ago.
It is looking up to its spinners, who reduced Pakistan to 161/7 at one stage in Asia Cup, for the extra bite against the opponent. Nepal on the other hand will be looking forward to a much needed batting boost from Kanishka Chaugain, the former U-19 captain, who had returned from USA for the event. His confidence while opening Nepali innings will play vital role in the matches against tough opponents like Hong Kong.
Nepal in ACC Trophy
- Nepal’s first international appearance, won two of five matches in league but finished third
- Nepal’s first international tournament organization, lost two matches while two others were washed out in league round
- Lost in semifinal to Hong Kong after finishing second in group behind UAE to reach semifinal, won two of the four matches
- Lost to UAE in the final – the second loss against it in the event while winning four other matches.
- Shock defeat against Qatar in quarterfinal put Nepal into plate championship which it won by defeating Afghanistan, won four of five matches.
Lost to UAE in semifinal and finished fourth losing to Afghanistan, won earlier four matches.