Nepal must get off to winning start against Malaysia

Rohit Paudel

After more than two months of non stop action, there is no respite in sight for the men’s national cricket team of Nepal as they gear up to participate in the 2024 ACC Premier Cup T20 starting in Oman from April 12th.

The ten teams in the fray are divided into two groups. Defending champions Nepal, Qatar, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia are in Group A. Likewise, Group B comprises Bahrain, Cambodia, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

The two finalists of the tournament will qualify for the final round of the 2025 Asia Cup tournament.

Given the magnitude of the competition, the stakes are high for teams, especially with two spots up for grabs. I expect it to be highly competitive and go down to the wire.

Apparently there is absolutely no room for lackadaisical cricket, inconsistency and unforced errors for any team hoping to advance to the final round.

Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Malaysia and Hong Kong are leading contenders for the two spots based on their recent performances, records and statistics. They start as favorites and two teams from the pack are most likely to make it to the final round .

That being said, although, the chances of upsets happening are minimal, however, it cannot be completely ruled out

Expectations remain high for Team Nepal going into the tournament. Certainly they will be looking for an encore after 2023 turnaround success.

In the build-up to the ACC Premier T20, the team played a series of matches at home against Ireland A and outfits from Gujarat and Baroda in India.

They put in a fairly good performance to win the two match series against Ireland A, followed by victory over Gujarat in the final to win the SMS Friendship Cup T20 Tri-series.

The outcomes were morale boosting, and, more importantly, it created the much needed momentum for the team. The key is sustaining the momentum and capitalizing on it for a positive outcome in Oman.

The team needs to remain razor-focused, committed, confident, resilient and disciplined from start to finish. They will require a cohesive effort, coupled with individual brilliance to come out on top.

It takes mental fortitude to play under pressure, achieve and sustain success on their part.

They will have to get the act together, rectify shortcomings, and play to their potential and strengths.

It is imperative that players maximize the opportunity to play in order to cement their place in the team.

The team’s batting frailty and inconsistent performance continues to be a concern. It has to be reversed to avoid further disappointment.

The batters must put in a vastly improved performance .They have to display consistency, solidity, rhythm and fluency in their batting throughout.

The younger generation of batters are yet to establish themselves as consistent run getters.

They have to step up, possess intelligence, find the right shots, apply themselves and play with intent.

When all is said and done, unquestionably, batting will largely determine Nepal’s success at the end of the day.

As for the bowling, they have to be at the top of their game, achieving and maintaining quality performance. The fielding quality has to improve to save extra runs and apply pressure on the oppositions.

Nepal must get off to a winning start against Malaysia in the opener on Friday to build early momentum.