ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, Opinion

Nepal in make-or-break situation against Netherlands

Once a powerhouse, West Indies lived up to their reputation by handing Nepal a crushing
defeat in the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.

They registered a thumping 101-run victory against the hapless opponent who had hoped to stage an upset win.

The Windies’ victory would have been more emphatic had it not been the gutsy batting by the middle order and lower order, coupled with sloppy fielding by the winners.

On an ideal batting pitch, the Caribbeans dug themselves out of the hole to post a massive 339 for 7 in the allocated 50 overs.

It was an exhibition of solid, confident, technically sound and delightful batting, especially by the two centurions who literally plundered the mediocre and demoralized bowling attack.

The 216 runs partnership for the fourth wicket between skipper Shai Hope (132) and
Nicholas Pooran (115) was the turning point of the match.

Their blistering innings helped the team amass a winning total and sit in a position of

After winning the toss, Nepal elected to bowl first, and pacers Karan KC and Gulshan Jha
struck early, reducing the opposition to 2/9 in the fifth over.

The Windies had their backs to the wall, and pressure was clearly on the incoming batters to rescue the innings.

On the other hand, Nepal stood a good chance of restricting the opposition to a paltry total. After leg spinner Sandeep Laimcahanne claimed his first wicket in the tournament, the Windies tottered at 3/55.

At that stage of the game, nobody expected West Indies to battle back and put up a huge total.

All the good work done in the initial stages by Nepal went to waste as West Indies batters
seized back the initiative and took total control of the situation.

The bowlers’ performance went haywire as they came under fierce assault and ultimately caved in under pressure.

Although spinner Lalit Rajbhansi was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, the damage was already done.

For the umpteenth time, Nepal’s batting was exposed. It was another day of woeful batting
display. There was a lack of resolve, confidence and discipline on the part of the batters.

We all know the top order has let the team down time and again. Thursday was no exception.

Aarif Sheikh’s brilliant 63 and youngster Gulshan Jha’s gutsy 42 gave some respectability to the total.

In addition, the fielding was poor, and there were dropped catches aplenty which proved costly for the team.

Nepal still in the mix

Despite the defeat, Team Nepal is still in the mix and can make it to the Super Six round only if they prevail over the Netherlands on Saturday.

It’s a make-or-break situation for Coach Desai’s boys. Success can come their way only if they are able to bring their ‘A’ game.

It means bringing out the absolute best in yourself, optimum effort, focus and undeniable
commitment in every department of the game.

Apparently, the batting unit must click at all costs. At the end of the day, the outcome of the match is most likely to be decided by the batting performance of the team.

The side that bats consistently and solidly stands a far better chance to emerge victorious.
Consistency is the key element missing in Nepal’s batting on the ideal batting surface. They ought to have the right temperament to play under pressure and rise to the occasion.

The bowlers have a task on hand to contain the opposition from scoring freely. They got to
look back at their performance against the West Indies and not repeat the mistakes.

They need to step up, maintain patience, remain razor-sharp and focused when the going gets tough and challenging. Also, the fielding needs to be improved dramatically.

For youngsters in the team, it is another chance to steal the limelight and do whatever it takes to perform to their potential on a stage big as this.