In Focus, Nepal Men, Opinion

Nepal must defy odds against Netherlands in the World Cup opener

Once again Nepal's success will largely hinge on their batting, which continues to be a key concern.

Come June 4th, the men’s national cricket team of Nepal kicks off their much anticipated ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket tournament against the Netherlands in Grand Prairie Stadium, Dallas, Texas.

This is Nepal’s second appearance in one of the world’s biggest cricket mega-events.

It may be recalled that they made their debut in the 2014 World Cup held in Bangladesh.

If my memory serves me right as debutants Nepal skippered by Paras Khadka put on quite a show, winning two matches.

They got the better of Afghanistan and Hong Kong and lost to Bangladesh in the first stage of the round-robin group league format.

Although they were tied on points with Bangladesh, the latter advanced to Super 10 with a higher net run rate.

Back to the ongoing Twenty20 World Cup, apart from Nepal and the Netherlands, formidable Test-playing nations in the likes of South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh ranked 4th, 7th and 9th respectively are the other teams in the group.

The ninth edition of the premier competition featuring twenty teams, which is jointly hosted by the United States and the West Indies .

The league-cum-knock out first stage of the competition is being played in the United States and the West Indies.

Since the teams have to play in different venues, they will be constantly on the move.

After the conclusion of the first round, the entire super 8 round, semi finals and final will be held in the West Indies.

The tournament got off to a start Saturday with the United States prevailing over Canada.

The venues for Nepal’s first two matches are Dallas, Texas and Lauderhill, Florida. Likewise, the venue for the other two is Kingstown, the capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, West Indies.

In retrospect, Head Coach Monty Desai’s outfit had a pretty good preparation for the World Cup.

They are in a fairly formidable group. That’s going to be quite a challenge. They will require a rock solid consistent collective effort to upset the apple cart.

It is about commitment, mental resilience, steadfast determination, positivity, staying disciplined to the task and playing to their potential.

They have to look for a winning start against the Netherlands in the opener to build early momentum.

It’s a clash between two familiar foes but the Netherlands enjoy a slight edge over Nepal.

The outcome of the match is crucially important for the teams’ progress in the group stage.

Nepal have to be at their very best individually and collectively to prevail over the Dutch side.

One thing is abundantly clear, there is no place for loose play, mediocrity and inconsistency when it comes to the overall performance.

Once again the team’s success will largely hinge on their batting, which continues to be a key concern.

There is no doubt that batting will challenge Nepal for the umpteenth time.

The batters have to make technical adjustments to batting, apply themselves to the hilt and deliver the goods.

The batters must figure out how to translate their good knocks in practice matches into the real game.

Given favorable batting track in Texas, the batting must click for Nepal to keep themselves in contention. They cannot afford a fragile batting effort.

It is another opportunity for batters to perform and prove their mettle.

With ace right-arm leg spin bowler Sandeep Lamichhane out of the picture, the bowling department appears far from formidable.

The bowlers must be more consistent, accurate and up to their task, and the fielding needs to be a lot sharper.

There will be no dearth of support for Nepal in the match. Dallas, Texas is home to a large Nepali community. They are expected to attend the match in big numbers to rally around the team.