Nepal U19 vs New Zealand U19: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

ICC Under-19 World Cup, 6th Match, Group D: Nepal Under-19s v New Zealand Under-19s at Fatullah, Jan 28, 2016.

Nepal U19 238/7 (50 ov) defeated New Zealand U19 206 (47.1 ov) by 32 runs

A solid win for Nepal starting the things off on their comeback in U19 World Cup. Rhinos defeating the Kiwis once again after 10 years. Whilst majority of cricket fans and experts are stating as an upset, the ones who were following the scores would know the match was evenly contested for most of the part. There was a time when Glenn Phillips look to turn around the things. He was outfoxed by Prem Tamang’s off-spinning delivery. It was all Nepal after that as Nathan Smith played a good cameo for NZ to bring the margin of defeat down.

Here are some interesting picks from the historic match which deserves mentioning on standalone:

The Good:

Sunar’s opening: Sandeep Sunar’s opening has been a curious case for me personally from his domestic heydays. A limited batsman in techniques has time and again proven his grit by scoring runs against good pace attacks. For me, he is the most improved batsman from the lot of very talented batsmen coming in from this U19 team.

Bhurtel’s finishing: Did you miss Saurav Khanal? No. All credits goes to Kushal Bhurtel who transformed swiftly in Khanal’s role. No.8 finishing and some pace bowling, this guy will be a perfect foil to Dipendra Airee moving forward. Another improved player.

Kandel’s inhumane consistency: I will have to check this guy after he comes back home if he is a human or a machine. A machine who can deliver misery spells at will, day in day out. Sushil Kandel has been near to perfect with his immaculate line & length. Some wickets and he is ready as anyone for senior lineup.

Dipendra Airee’s finishing: We know how good he is with bat. His bowling is reaping fruits equally. A kind of guy who bats most between 40 to 50 overs and bowls most between 40 to 50 overs. An absolute asset to this U19 team. He can come 5 down and smash bowlers. He comes 5th change as bowler and pick wickets.

The Bad:

Lack of long innings from batsmen: A concern for our batting will always remain lack good long batting knocks. Someone who could take the attack to the bowlers after well settled. Sunar 39(60), Dhamala 15(26), Rijal 48(65) & Aarif 39(60) all couldn’t cash their good starts into more commanding performances.

Karki jinxing no.3 position: Yogendra Karki is a very good batsman. But think tank sticking with him for that no.3 role is quite far-fetched. He is still a work in progress. Maybe batting a full domestic tournament will help for his cause before trying him out in internationals. An all-rounder turned batsman needs that confidence before facing more capable bowlers.

Leg-spin for slog overs: Bowling a leg-spinner in slog overs is always a gamble. Especially when your bowler is inexperience for this format. A leg-spinner is naturally an attacking bowler. Asking him to defend might be fatal. However, much depends on confidence of the bowler, maybe more experienced Kandel or Tamang can be better choice as spinners for death overs. Kandel for his line-length & Tamang for his wicket-taking abilities.

Missing a strike pace bowler: Almost unnoticed but we definitely lack out an out fast bowler to start the things off opening the bowling. Aarif sheikh has done great with his bowling but if he can find a partner from another end to form a pair it will help Nepal to make early inroads than to wait ball to get old. A concern that might be exposed in matches against good spin playing team like India.

The Ugly:

Am I kidding? Yes. There can’t be ugliness in Nepal’s one of the most famous wins in history of their cricket. That too completing a double against New Zealand.

Then what? We have,

The Best: 

Rijal’s consistent performances: It’s been very long Raju Rijal has been seen as someone who will solve our wicket keeping woes in senior team. And why wouldn’t he when he can play like today against NZ attack. A free-flowing innings only added more feathers to his cap. A fifty or much bigger score would have been perfect but starting the tournament on a good note, all that matters for now. A sure shot future Nepal player is doing wonders with his batting, wicket-keeping & captaincy.

Raju & Aarif’s stability in the middle: Just like bowlers hunt in pair, our batsmen Raju Rijal & Aarif Sheikh bat in pair with most pleasant of results. Not once but so many times they have steadied the ship & lay a platform for Airee & co. to come in and express themselves. It is only getting better by match.

Tamang’s important wickets: Match was heading into a cliffhanger. A bit more of Glenn Phillips the whole equation would have changed but Tamang had different ideas. He not only dismissed Phillips but also skipper Finnie in his next over to seal the match for Nepal. A great character displayed by Tamang under a demanding circumstance.

Fielding: This may have been Nepal’s one of the best fielding displays in field we missed out on to watch live. There were 3 well-executed run-outs. Lamichhane, Bhurtel & Airee all were credited for one each.