Nepal vs Afghanistan: A battle for glory

Kathmandu- How many of you remember after a win in semi-final against Nepal in ICC T20 world cup qualifiers Afghani captain M Nabi saying “We were always better than Nepal, as we never think of a win against a team like India Nepal ought not to think a win against us”? There had been a lot of talk on this point specially in Nepal and among the Nepali fans, Nepali former captain Binod Das reacted to this saying “We will show you one day,” No doubt Nepal has a good chance to break Afghani over ambitions tomorrow.

It was the same decade when both Nepal and Afghanistan entered the brand new world of cricket but some dramatic changes in the field of sports has led world know what Afghani are capable of though Nepal is still searching for identity in international arena. History suggests Nepal has never won a T20 against Afghanistan but history and records are to be broken, Nepal and Nepali fans must believe that they have more than a chance in the sense that Afghani team hasn’t been at its best form. Can Nepal recreate a history? Anything can happen in the game of uncertainty you never know, what we do is there is going to be frenetic finish to this epic match tomorrow at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium Chittagong 3:30 pm (3:15 NST) onwards.

Nepali team looked good against Bangladesh the earlier night making a handsome total of 126-5 in the toughest of condition to bat on; it was never going to be easy for Nepali team to defend that total under lights against the dew factor. You must say Nepali team was unfortunate in the sense that dew fell heavily that night whereas in past few nights there was nothing what so ever. “Playing all twenty overs without being bowled out against a test nation and make them struggle quite a bit to get to that total was as special as a win”, said Nepali coach Dassanayake. “We didn’t rotate the strike and couldn’t hit a six but you need to give credit to us, we played well against a quality opposition. Yes! Certainly the batting could have been better but the pitch was doing a bit to seamers early on and to the batsman later, we were unfortunate that dew played its part,” added Nepali captain Paras Khadka.

Afghanistan, Asian lions will also be looking to register their second after a win against Hong Kong, Specially their top order batsman getting back to form will please their captain a lot. Seam bowling is Afghan’s main strength, specially the left arm paceman Shapoor Zadran who in recent past has taken the wicket of some of the best of world cricket, has always troubled Nepali batsman. It’s always tough for a Right handed batsman to face a ball angling away from him, Shapoor’s economy against Nepal is just 4.00 since 2013, very impressive figure for a paceman. “We have good-quality fast bowlers, we train them like that, they are aggressive and everybody knows that our fast-bowling attack is very good, especially at associate standard, “Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan wants his quicks to keep coming on strong.

Pitch Report and Weather

The pitch looks good, a typical Chittagong pitch, no cracks on it, green grass rolled nicely, certainly will help the seamers. The boundaries aren’t mini but not as big as you saw in Nepal’s first game against Hong Kong. Batsman will find it easier to play the shot they wanted but if you respect the seamers early on you’d gat runs under your belt. It’s not a day night match so dew won’t really come onto play, something that captains won’t be worrying too much about. It’s without any doubts will be a high scoring match, score of 150 batting first won’t really be enough. It will be hot and humid, 27 degrees in maximum, pretty high in the context that it’s only early March, you’d feel a slight bridge blowing across but there will be nothing for the seamers in the air, anything that might happen will be off the deck.

Teams and Match Officials

Afghanistan: 1 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2 Najeeb Tarakai, 3 Najibullah Zadran, 4 Mohammad Nabi (capt), 5 Shafiqullah, 6 Karim Sadiq, 7 Gulbadin Naib, 8 Samiullah Shenwari, 9 Hamza Hotak, 10 Dawlat Zadran, 11 Shapoor Zadran

Nepal have shown faith with their top order. The openers have been asked to attack before patiently building from Nos. 3 to 5. They could not finish off either of their previous two innings in style, and Binod Bhandari could make way after scores of 1 and 0 from 4 balls so far.

Nepal : 1 Subash Khakurel (wk), 2 Sagar Pun, 3 Gyanendra Malla, 4 Paras Khadka (capt), 5 Sharad Vesawkar, 6 Binod Bhandari, 7 Naresh Budayair, 8 Basant Regmi, 9 Shakti Gauchan, 10 Sompal Kami, 11 Jitendra Mukhiya

Match Officials:
1) On field Umpires: S Ravi (India), Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
2) Third Umpire: Rod Tucker (Australia)
3) Fourth Umpire: Paul Reiffel
4) Match Referee:  Javagal Srinath

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