Nepal Men, Opinion

Batting disaster ends Nepal’s campaign in Zimbabwe

Bhim Sharki

A disastrous batting performance by Nepal against the Netherlands ended their campaign in the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.

Nepal was haunted by batting failures yet again. They concluded the tournament with 3 defeats and one win, falling far short of expectations.

The deciding match, a toss-up between the two sides, was expected to be a thriller. But it proved anticlimactic as the Netherlands crushed Nepal by 7 wickets at the end.

The win puts the Netherlands in the Super Six, thus keeping their hopes of qualifying to the final round in India alive.

The decision to bowl first after winning the toss paid off for the winners. The bowlers were up to their task and succeeded in overwhelming and pinning down the shaky batting order from top to bottom.

Pacer Logan van Beek wrecked havoc with his express short deliveries, making important breakthroughs in critical stages of the game.

Max O'Dowd
Max O’Dowd of the Netherlands plays a shot during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Zimbabwe 2023 match between the Netherlands and Nepal at Takashinga Cricket Club on June 24, 2023 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Taking advantage of Nepal’s batting vulnerabilities and bouncy pitch, he had batters to their knees. His bowling figure of 34/4 in 9.3 overs speaks for itself.

They never allowed the opponent to build partnerships. Whenever a partnership was in progress they managed to cut it short.

They cleaned up Nepal’s innings in the 44.3 over for a paltry total of 167 runs, easing pressure on their batters.

Even on a perfect batting pitch Nepal’s fragile batting was gapingly exposed by the Netherlands.

All along I had maintained that Nepal’s success would be largely decided by their batting performance. They needed to work on their shortcomings and come out as better batters.

In a crunch game against the Netherlands, it called for solid, determined and disciplined performance from the batting unit, but it did not materialize.

Unable to withstand pressure, the batting crumbled under the opponent’s onslaught without a fight. Skipper Rohit Paudel was the top scorer with 33 runs.

Had it not been a fighting knock by the tail Sandeep Lamichhane (27)and Gulshan Jha (15), Nepal’s total could have been so much worse.

Leg spinner Lamichhane put in a decent all round performance, his best in the competition. Apart from scoring 27,he picked 3 wickets also.

The batters failed miserably, unable to deliver when it mattered most. There are absolutely no excuses for the collective batting debacle. All I can say is, it was a very poor batting display.

They clearly lacked the skill, application, focus, big game match temperament and consistency.

I don’t understand why Coach Monty Desai completely ignored experienced batter and former skipper Gyanendra Malla for the entire tournament. Given the inconsistency in the batting order, his inclusion in the playing eleven could have come in handy.

Defending a modest total was never going to be easy for the bowlers. They had to be at top of their game and needed quick wickets to apply pressure on batters.

To make matters worse for Nepal, the Netherlands openers Max O’ Dowd(90) and Vikram Singh (30) made sure that did not happen.

They dictated terms and built a winning partnership of 90, coupled with 41 from Bas de Leede which eventually ensured a convincing and easy win for the team.
They reached the target in just 27.1 overs.

Where did it all go wrong? Coach Monty Desai has a lot of soul- searching to do after his team’s disappointing and dismal performance.

I am not an expert. As things stand, I can say that both batting and bowling leaves much to be desired.

If things don’t change for the good in the short and long run, as fans we will have to deal with more frustration and disappointment.

Next up is the Asia Cup, a much bigger challenge than the ICC World Cup Qualifier in terms of opponents for Nepal.

To put it bluntly, if Team Nepal continues on the same path unchanged, they are destined for a bigger disaster in the Asia Cup.