Nepal must get their act together to overcome Netherlands

Fairfax/Cricnepal – The national cricket team of Nepal is set to lock horns with the Netherlands in the ICC World Cricket League Championship in Amstelveen, Netherlands.

Fresh off the English tour, the clash against the Dutch side is critically important for Nepal. They have a formidable opposition who are undefeated in the competition and determined to keep their slate clean.

Furthermore, they have to deal with the home advantage factor heavily favoring the Netherlands also.

Without an iota of doubt, the challenge is huge for a team that is desperately trying to gain ground and stay afloat in the competition.

A win is a must for Nepal to keep their qualification dreams alive. Everyone agrees that they cannot afford to lose matches of this magnitude. It may, otherwise, cut their chance of qualifying.

The final outcome of the two match series will have huge implications for Nepal in terms of progress to the 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifier.

The top four teams in the championship qualifies for the final round of the competition to be held in Bangladesh in 2018, while the four bottom finishers face relegation to Division Two.

Currently with four points the Nepali squad is in a precarious position. They are third from the bottom and have sunk deep into the relegation zone.

They key here is getting back to winning ways, but it is easier said than done. They have to reinvent themselves, rediscover their very best form to get the all-important win with so much at stake.

The Netherlands is no stranger to Nepal. The two have played against each other several times. They know each other all too well. So far in the four meetings between the two sides, the Netherlands has won three times, while Nepal once.

The last time the two sides battled was at WCL Division 2 in Namibia last year in which Nepal shocked the Dutch in a thriller.

Despite enormous pressure, the team has to show that it can keep things in perspective. Every player must rise to the occasion and deliver big in critical moments.

With the kind of depth and talent it has, Nepal appears a good team on paper, at least. Undoubtedly they have a fairly good chance at upsetting the applecart.

The fact of the matter is that it hardly matters how the media portrays the team. In other words, the game is played on a field and not on paper. At the end of the day, what matters/counts most is, how well they perform to achieve the desired results.

That being said, the big question is, can they deliver the goods when the team needs it the most. Once again, the must win situation is a big opportunity for players to prove themselves roadworthy.

Team Nepal’s performance in the ongoing championship has not been up to the mark. Their sixth place in the standings speaks for itself. It can be best described as disappointing, lackluster and mediocre.

On the whole, they continue to get bogged down by irking inconsistency and sloppiness. We have seen this happen time and time again.

To be fair, the clouds of uncertainty hanging over Nepali cricket have had a detrimental effect on team performance. Unperturbed by the situation, the team has been playing exceedingly well and achieving success through their own hard work.

Players remain determined to go ahead irrespective of the situation. And the best part is that they are positive and striving for success. Of course, they should hold their heads up high.

The series sweep over Namibia by Nepal at home did reignite optimism in the fans who believed/believe that their team was/is capable of playing good cricket at the highest level of the competition.

The team enjoys a massive fan support. The fans have always rallied behind them even in the most difficult times. I hope they are able to put smiles back on the faces of their fans.

Veteran Paras Khadka spearheads a team loaded with experience, youth and talent. Young guns like Sompal Kami, Sandip Lamichhane, Sunil Dhamala, Raju Rijal, Anil Mandal and Bikram Sob must come out all guns blazing.

The team is a combination of batting all- rounders, medium pace bowling all-rounders and a handful of specialist spinners.

It is the inconsistent, poor batting that is proving to be cause of concern lately. It is no secret that the team needs to improve batting dramatically to turn things around.

The batting revolves around skipper Khadkha, Gyanendra Malla, Sharad Vesawkar, Anil Mandal and newcomer Sunil Dhamala. The team’s fate will largely hinge on the batting form of the batsmen.

Since it is a 50-over match, the team will require sensible, intelligent rock solid batting. They will have to show more maturity and discipline in their batting.

The bowling and fielding to some extent need improvement, as well. Though the pitch is ideal for fast and medium pacers, it will be interesting to see how spinners like youngster Lamichhane, along with Shakti, Basant and Sagar perform.

As captain of the team, Khadka’s role will be crucial and has to contribute significantly to the team’s success. He must lead by example, motivate and inspire players on and off the field.

I have to conclude by saying that acid test awaits Nepal at Amstelveen. If Nepal can get their act together, they stand a chance against the Netherlands.