June 15, 2024

Nepal is set to play against Papua New Guinea in the ICC World Cup League-2 triangular ODI series. The match is scheduled to start at 11:45 PM Nepali time at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in UAE.

This tour marks the end of Nepal’s League 2, with a triangular ODI series between Nepal, UAE, and Papua New Guinea in UAE & Nepal. Nepal is currently in sixth place in League 2, having won 12 matches and lost 14 out of 28 games, with a total of 26 points. To remain in the top five and retain their ODI recognition, Nepal must win at least five matches. To qualify for the ODI World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe in June and July, Nepal will need to win seven matches and finish in the top three.

Papua New Guinea, on the other hand, is currently at the bottom of the league, with only 5 points from 28 matches, having won 2 matches and lost 25. They are set to play the qualifier playoffs. UAE is in fifth place, having won 13 matches and lost 12 out of 28, with a total of 29 points. They need to win at least six matches to finish in the top three and retain their ODI recognition.

Nepal’s morale is high in this visit to UAE, having won all the matches in the triangular ODI series against Scotland and Namibia this week at their home ground. They won both matches against Scotland, the reigning champions, and will be looking to maintain their winning streak in UAE. Nepal hopes to secure five consecutive wins, a first in ODI cricket history. However, Papua New Guinea should not be underestimated, having beaten USA and UAE in League-2 last year.

Nepal defeated Papua New Guinea in both matches in League 2 last year in UAE, but Papua New Guinea won both the ODI matches against Nepal at TU ground. Charles Amini, Papua New Guinea’s player of the series, was instrumental in their clean-sweep defeat against Nepal last year. Lega Sikaya, Tony Ura, Asad Bhala, and Amini are the main batsmen, and Papua New Guinea is more dependent on them. If Nepal can take the wickets of Amini and Sikaya early on, they can dominate the game. Fast bowling all-rounder Norman Vanua can also be deadly for Nepal.

Nepal’s batting is their main weapon, with captain Rohit Paudel leading the team. The team’s performance largely depends on his batting. Openers Asif Sheikh and Kushal Bhurtel and another top-order batsman Gyanendra Malla will have to play big innings. Nepal hopes for an aggressive start from Kushal Bhurtel, who scored a century against Namibia. The team also looks to see a good performance in the middle order from the young left-arm all-rounder Kushal Malla.

Nepal’s lower-order batting will be strengthened with Arif Sheikh’s return to the team, and Dipendra Singh will serve as the air finisher. Fast bowlers Sompal Kami and Karan KC must give a good start in the power play. If Tony Ura and Lega Sikaya are stuck at the crease, Nepal can gain an advantage. Spinners Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi and Mausam Dhakal are experienced bowlers, with Lalit expected to take on more responsibility.

This series is a prestige battle and good preparation for Papua New Guinea, while the future of Nepal and UAE will be determined in the next four years. This is also the first foreign tour for head coach Monty Desai, presenting a real test for him and the Nepalese team.

Nepal Squad:

Rohit Poudel (captain), Dipendra Singh Airi, Gyanendra Malla, Asif Sheikh, Karan KC, Sompal Kami, Kushal Bhurtel, Lalit Narayan Rajbansi, Bhim Sarki, Sandeep Jora, Kushal Mall, Mausam Dhakal (Shyam), Gulshan Jha, Arif Sheikh and Pratish J.C.

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