The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 will resume for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak when Nepal faces the second-placed USA, on September 13 in Muscat, Oman.
Nepal is currently sixth in the League 2 table featuring seven teams Oman, the USA, Scotland, Namibia, the UAE, and Papua New Guinea.
Nepal so far has played four matches in the four-year League 2 cycle and have registered two wins and two defeats. Oman leads the standings winning eight of the 10 matches played. The USA is second in the standings with six wins out of 12 matches played and PNG is at the bottom having lost all eight matches played so far.
Nepal played two-match ODI series against Papua New Guinea ahead of the tri-series and recorded a narrow two-wickets win in the first ODI and secured a thumping 151-run win in the second D/N ODI. Although, the results showed a clean sweep, however, Malla’s side had some issues.
In two recent matches played against the USA at home, Nepal registered two wins against them and 35 all-out will be on their head.
In the first match, Nepal got crashed for 190 runs but successfully defended with a 35-run victory. Likewise, Sandeep Lamichhane’s outstanding 6 for 16 rattled them for 35 all out in just 12 overs in the second match, and chase down the target in 5.1 overs.
New Opening combination?
The new opening combination didn’t put runs on the board in both the PNG matches. The team management was full of confidence, backing up the new openers, however, the duo will feel some pressure coming to this series.
Middle order & Dipendra’s Injury
The middle order is without the service of Dipendra Singh Airee, who has been ruled out of the series due to an ankle injury.
Except for Rohit Paudel’s consistency with the bat (41 & 86 runs) in both innings, the middle-order looked vulnerable. Malla looked good with 45 in the second match against PNG but the likes of Sharad Vesawkar, Pawan Sarraf, Binod Bhandari, and Kushal Malla struggled to hold the middle overs and were dismissed cheaply.
Nepal team will again rely on the spin bowlers on slow wickets in Oman. Sandeep Lamichhane had already made his announcement with ten wickets in the two matches. However, the opponents would be different in this series, one playing spin well in recent times and the other has the home advantage.
Nepal has picked Sushan Bhari as a support bowler for Sandeep. However, a few spells of bowling from Pawan Sarraf, Kushal Malla, and Sharad Vesawkar will come in handy as well.
Sompal Kami and Karan KC will lead the pace attack. Newcomer, Bikram Sob also looked good after getting his debut. He was impressive in both matches against PNG. This means other pacers Abinash Bohora and Gulshan Jha will have to sit on the bench.
Nepal WWWLWL (last six completed matches, most recent first)
Meanwhile, In a recent two-match ODI series that the USA played in Oman, USA’s Jaskaran Malhotra stole the show with his feat of six sixes in an over against Papua New Guinea.
Becoming the fourth player to strike six sixes in an over in international cricket, the American joins an exclusive club that includes some of the game’s greats and hopes to bring this superb form into the series.
Malhotra and his team will play Nepal in the first fixture on 13 September.