Nepal has uphill task against Afghanistan

Just when you start to think, perhaps, batsmen are finally starting to find their touch, they come down crashing like a house of cards, the sense of disappointment and frustration is so overwhelming.

All of us got a bitter dose of reality after Team Nepal’s latest debacle against Scotland in the World Cup Qualifiers.

The defeat was triggered by a disastrous batting that put the match beyond Nepal’s reach.What we witnessed was poor, reckless and irresponsible batting.

It did not come as a complete surprise to me. The fact of the matter is that the team is susceptible to batting collapses. I am afraid I have lost count of all the times they have made a mess of batting.

There are no excuses for the way the top-order batted against Scotland.It was a culmination of everything-rash strokes, questionable judgement, poor temperament and lack of confidence.

The opening partnership continues to be a huge, huge problem for the team to top it off. The constant failure of a good opening is severely hurting the team most.

Experienced opener Gyanendra Malla form is a big concern.He has been going through a dreadful run of poor form.He has got opportunities more than required despite failures but his struggle to score runs continues unabated.

I cannot understand why the team management is reluc, antly sticking with him. It makes sense to find a suitable replacement for him. When he is failing so badly, why not substitute him with the right batsman.

Either the management, including Skipper Paras Khadka is biased against other batsmen or there is no genuine batsman to replace him.

The management has to act in the interest of the team, not individuals. It appears though, Captain Khadka has no intentions to axe Malla despite his poor form. If so, then, he is making a huge mistake.

As for the other batsmen, they have clearly lacked commitment, right frame of mind, consistency, character, flair and confidence to make a lasting impression. For the most part, it was a tale of throwing away wickets in a haste.

Skipper Khadka was the lone batsman who stood up and batted intelligently. He made a substantial contribution to the team’s paltry total.

He ran out of partners, however, got some invaluable support from the tailenders. After his fighting knock of 60 plus ended, Nepal’s hope of notching up a respectable target went up in smoke, as well.

The target of 149 set by Nepal was too small for a team like Scotland with a decent batting strength.

On the other hand, undaunted by the challenge, Nepali bowlers hoping for a miracle put in an impressive performance and had the opposition fight for every run.

This time, however, there was no repeat of the miracle that we saw in Namibia. In the end, after some anxious moments, Scotland overtook the paltry target in the 41st over and 4 wickets at hand.

Given the situation, the spinning trio Sandeep Lamichhane, Basant Regmi and Lalit Rajbhansi bowled reasonably well.

Nepal is pitted against Afghanistan in a very intriguing and tough duel. Both teams are winless and in a must-win situation to keep their hopes alive in the competition.

Afghanistan has a clear edge over Nepal. Going by Nepal’s shaky, unpredictable performance, I really do n’t fancy their chances. I hope I am wrong Should they come out victorious, I will be very surprised.