June 15, 2024

In an exciting clash at the Harare Sports Club, Nepal is gearing up to face Zimbabwe in the opening match of the ICC ODI World Cup Qualifier 2023. This will mark Nepal’s first encounter with a Test team, and they are determined to make a strong statement by defeating the home team. With a focus on bolstering their batting prowess, Nepal is expected to field a formidable playing XI, potentially making a few changes from their previous match against the UAE in the ACC Premier Cup final.

One significant alteration could see Dipendra Singh Airee replacing spinner Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi. Given the pitch conditions in Zimbabwe, which are considered more favorable to fast bowlers, Nepal aims to strengthen their seam attack. Alongside spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, the versatile duo of Kushal Malla and Dipendra will provide excellent spin options for Nepal. Dipendra, a skilled player in all facets of the game, has the potential to turn the match in Nepal’s favor with his batting, bowling, or fielding contributions.

Considering the pitch dynamics, it is unlikely that Nepal will play two primary spinners. Thus, Dipendra is expected to take Lalit’s place, allowing Nepal to have a deeper batting lineup. Lalit had primarily been utilized by Nepal in home games at the TU grounds, while he remained on the bench during their recent tour to the UAE.

In the ACC Premier Cup final against the UAE, Nepal opted for the inclusion of fast bowler Gulshan Jha in place of Dipendra. Gulshan played a match-winning unbeaten innings of 67 runs off just 84 balls, displaying his explosive batting prowess with six sixes. As a fast bowling all-rounder, Gulshan adds depth to Nepal’s bowling attack with his raw pace. The first-choice fast bowlers for Nepal will likely be Sompal Kami and Karan KC, making Gulshan a valuable asset in the lineup.

Apart from these changes, minimal alterations are anticipated in the team composition. Asif Shaikh and Kushal Bhurtel are expected to open the innings for Nepal. Bhurtel’s century against Oman in a practice match showcased his potential, while Kushal will play an aggressive role, while Asif will anchor the innings with a more restrained approach.

Nepal’s strategy will likely revolve around building a solid foundation in the initial overs to avoid early wickets. With a strong start, Nepal aims to set a formidable total. Bhim Sarki is expected to continue at number three, providing stability to the batting order.

Kushal Malla Century against Oman in ACC premier cup

Rohit Paudel, often considered Nepal’s batting pillar, will play at number four. Rohit’s impressive performance against Zimbabwe in the 2018 Qualifiers makes him a key player to watch out for. Even if Nepal faces a shaky start, their resilient middle-order provides the potential for a strong comeback.

Kushal Malla, positioned at number five, will be expected to bring explosive batting to the table. With his recent impressive form, including a century off just 59 balls against Oman, Nepal anticipates fireworks from him. Arif Shaikh will likely bat at number six, providing a dependable option to stabilize the innings if the team finds itself in a precarious situation.

Depending on the team’s condition, Nepal may opt to include Gulshan Jha and Dipendra Singh Airee at numbers seven and eight. If the batting falters, Arif may be promoted to number six to handle the innings. The batting order will be determined based on the team’s performance leading up to the fifth position.

Nepal’s lower-order batting will comprise Gulshan Jha and Dipendra Singh Airee at seventh and eighth position according to the condition of the game. Nepal will look to Dipendra to deliver a strong finish, an area where the team has previously struggled. Karan KC and Sompal Kami, known for their batting abilities, will take positions nine and ten respectively, further strengthening Nepal’s batting depth.

sandeep lamichhane after five wicket haul

Completing the lineup, Sandeep Lamichhane, a leading spinner for Nepal, will take the eleventh spot. Sandeep has been in good batting form recently, adding to his value as an all-around player. Notably, each player in Nepal’s lineup possesses the ability to contribute with the bat, making their batting unit a formidable force.

When it comes to the bowling department, Sompal Kami and Karan KC will be the first-choice fast bowlers, aiming to exploit the conditions that favor seamers. Gulshan Jha will be the third-choice fast bowler, utilizing his pace to trouble the Zimbabwean batsmen. Arif Shaikh will serve as the fourth bowling option, ready to step in if required.

Leading the spin attack, Sandeep Lamichhane’s performance will be vital for Nepal’s success. He will receive support from Dipendra Singh Airee and Kushal Malla, who can provide valuable spin options when needed. With this combination, Nepal will have a total of seven bowling options, featuring four fast bowlers and three spinners. Additionally, Rohit Paudel and Kushal Bhurtel can also contribute with their spin bowling skills if the situation demands.

Nepal’s probable playing XI against Zimbabwe in the ICC World Cup Qualifier opener:
1.Asif Sheikh (wicketkeeper)
2.Kushal Bhurtel
3.Bhim Sarki
4.Rohit Paudel (captain)
5.Kushal Malla
6.Arif Sheikh
7.Dipendra Singh Airee / Lalit Rajbanshi
8.Gulshan Jha
9.Sompal Kami
10.Karan KC
11.Sandeep Lamichhane

With a strong and well-balanced lineup, Nepal is set to challenge Zimbabwe in their first encounter against a Test team. The team’s focus on bolstering their batting strength, combined with a formidable bowling attack, provides them with a promising chance to secure a victory and make a strong start in the World Cup qualifiers. Cricket enthusiasts and fans will be eagerly watching as Nepal aims to leave their mark on the global stage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *