Nepal U19 vs India U19: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Kathmandu- After a dream run in ongoing U19 cricket world cup, Nepal is brought back to their realities. India U19 not only won the match but in such a dominating fashion that Nepal just might need some time to recover from it. Hopefully, before the quarter finals match will do. India’s Rishab Pant scored U19 history’s fastest fifty and dismantled Nepal’s bowling attack on his way to 78 from just 24 balls. Was all lost for Nepal? Absolutely not. It’s time to react & respond to the drubbing of their life with a good performance in quarters.

Here are my ‘the god, the bad & the ugly’ picks from yesterday’s loss against India U19. Winning & losing is part of the game, what matter is coming back strong with a competitive performance against new opponents. It is time to address the lags & work on it before the big quarter-finals match.

The Good

-Playing complete overs: Even in best of days Nepal has struggled to last full quota of batting overs. Against India 19, a far superior in-form bowling unit, Nepal did manage to make some important runs at the end. There was a stage when Nepal look all set to be bundled out below 150 or sorts but Tamang & Rajbir managed to cling on & take innings to last overs.

-Sunar’s shots: A late cut over slips. A picture perfect straight drive. A modern-day lofted cover drive. Little flicks. Deliveries pushed to square leg & off. Luck was blatantly in favor of Sunar yesterday but every time he connected it was all gold & pleasing to eyes. Sandeep Sunar is a player who needs a load of coaching to keep continuing opening for his team.

-Tamang’s cameos: Prem Tamang is like Shakti Gauchan of this U19 team. An opener when he first started, Prem Tamang realized his future remains with off-spin bowling. However, yesterday he got an opportunity to roll back his earlier days and didn’t he made some important runs to elevate Nepal’s score from 150 to 170. Later, Tamang also dismissed Rishab Pant when he was all set to score the record century for U19s.

-Lamichhane’s ‘not bad’ bowling: Believe it or not, it was tough to find goods in yesterday’s match but hat-trick hero Sandeep Lamichhane displayed lot of promise with whatever opportunity he got. Commentators, Sanjay Manjrekar & Daryl Cullinan both were impressed by him. He is Nepal’s find of the tournament so far.

The Bad

-Captaincy: You know there is little you can do when the opponents’ batsmen launches attack like ‘Rishab Pant’ on you. Still that didn’t explains for introducing Lamichhane as sixth bowler when he is in top form & pitch was turning square in first innings. Who knows, only if, Lamichhane may have outfoxed Pant’s attacking plans in second over itself?

-Poor tactics: Defending whatever coming at stumps and swinging your bat on anything outside your stumps was common visual yesterday. The way Dhamala was dismissed & Sunar kept surviving his blind hoics, one can assume why our batting didn’t reap much fruits yesterday. It never recovered & after Rijal’s dismissal it was all about survival.

-Lack of effective partnerships: Any good batting effort is built on good partnerships, something that Nepal always struggle at. Be it senior or junior, Nepal batsmen look clueless when couple of wickets falls at opposite end. Going into shell, not looking for single & doubles, not accessing the situation, failing to spot weak-link in the bowling all doesn’t exist in our batting innings.

-Sunar’s shots: Again, yes. To be honest, apart from the deliveries he connected, his rest of the batting was very poor collage of bling hoics & clueless judgment of deliveries. Throwing his bat at any delivery pitched outside off that too trying to clear the inner circle or ‘attempting to score a six’ looked uglier at times.

The Ugly:

-Sunar’s shots:
Continuing from where I left in ‘the bad’ part, throwing his bat at any delivery pitched outside off that too trying to clear the inner circle or attempting to score a six looked uglier many times. He was only lucky to survive for a 37 hard earned runs as Indian fielders kept missing his chances/catches on offer. He doesn’t looks like an opener, but a pinch hitter who has lost his timing.

Running between the wickets: Again, continuing from poor tactics & lack of effective partnerships, Nepali batsmen once again remained adamant to take singles & doubles to reduce any sort of pressure exerted by bowlers. There is a reason, India U19’s coach Rahul Dravid went to Nepali camp after the match & tipped our players to concentrate more on running between the wickets along with odd boundaries.

-Exposed lack of pace bowling: It was sure to hunt us & hurt us. With almost no frontline pace bowler in squad Nepal’s bits & pieces adjustments were taken for cleaners by Pant & co. Kushal Bhurtel, Aarif Sheikh & Dipendra Airee bowled 4 overs between them and were taken for 63 overs. The match was all but done by then.

-Bowling Changes:
Bhurtel, Aarif & Dhamala were asked to bowl against India before Tamang or Kandel or Lamichhane yesterday. In fact, Lamichhane was brought so late yesterday; one wouldn’t have guessed he is the same guy who picked a hat-trick & a 5-wkt-haul in his last match. Tamang & Lamichhane eventually picked wickets but the match was already lost by initial onslaught by Indian openers. Captain should have started with at least one spinner at one end after knowing that ball was turning in 1st innings.