International cricket returns in Kenya after a decade as they are hosting Nepal for five T20Is and three 50-over matches commencing on 25th August (Thursday).
Kenya last played a T20I series on home soil back in February 2012 when touring side Ireland hammered them (3-0) in a 3-match T20I series. Six players who featured in that series are still serving Kenya cricket and are in the squad to face Nepal.
Both Kenyan and Nepalese fans are eager for the series to kick off as home fans are excited by the return of international cricket in the country. Meanwhile, Nepalese fans are desperate to see the newly appointed head coach, Manoj Prabhakar in action.
This is Nepal’s first trip to Kenya, in fact, the first T20I clash against them, becoming Nepal’s 19th opposition in T20Is.
All matches will be played at Gymkhana Club Ground, the major cricket ground in the country which has already hosted 61 ODIs and 5 T20Is as well. It holds a seating capacity of 7000 spectators and was also used in an ICC Champions Trophy 2000. The pitch has largely favored the teams batting second as four out of five matches are won by the team bowling first. 191 runs scored by Pakistan against Bangladesh is the highest team total in the venue whose average first-inning score is 130.
Who will lead Nepal?
Regular captain Sandeep Lamichhane will lead the side in T20Is whereas Rohit Paudel is set to captain the team in 50-overs matches. After the T20I series, skipper Lamichhane will fly to Carrabian to participate in Carrabian Premier League (CPL), which is commencing on 31st August. The Leggie will be playing for Jamaica Tallawahs.
Why this series is vital for Nepal?
The top-eight teams from the 2022 tournament, along with the two hosts, the West Indies and the United States, will automatically qualify for the league phase of the ICC T20 World Cup 2024. The remaining places, via the automatic qualification route, will be taken by the next two highest-ranked teams in the ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings as of 14 November 2022.
The top three teams based on their ICC rankings as of the cut-off date will automatically qualify if only the West Indies finish in the top eight of the 2022 edition. The top two teams in the ICC rankings will qualify for the 2024 edition if the West Indies do not finish in the top eight.
Hence, it is a very vital series for Nepal to improve the ICC ranking in order to pre-book the spot in T20 World Cup 2024.
Nepal Squad: Sandeep Lamichhane (c), Rohit Paudel (VC), Aasif Sheikh, Aarif Sheikh, Dipendra Singh Airee, Dev Khanal, Adil Ansari, Karan KC, Gyanendra Malla, Sompal Kami, Basir Ahmad, Arjun Saud, Pawan Sarraf, Sahab Alam, Kishore Mahato, Bivek Yadav. Reserve – Jitendra Mukhiya, Harishankar Sah, Bhim Sharki, Pratish GC
Updates: Sompal Kami, Basir Ahamad, Sahab Alam, Aadil Ansari, and Bibek Yadav had a visa problem so they missed a team flight, however, the problem has been sorted. Sompal and Bibek are already on their way and will join the team tonight, hence 13 players will be available for the first match. The other three players, the manager, and the trainer will join the team momentarily.
Kenya squad: Shem Ngoche(C), Alex Obanda, Sukdeep Sigh, Irfan Karim (wk), Rakep Patel, Collins Obuya, Sachi Budhia, Nelson Odhiambo, Emmanuel Bundi, Eugen Ochieng, Vraj Patel, Elijah Otieno, Lucas Oluoch, Nehemiah Odhiambo
Kenya: W L W W L – Kenya who are on 30th place in the ICC T20I ranking have grabbed 3 wins in the previous 5 matches.
Nepal: W W W W W – 14th ranked Nepal last played T20I matches at the home ground in April when they hosted PNG and Malaysia. With a 100% result, Nepal were crowned as the winner of the Tri-series.
Time Details and Live Telecast:
All matches are set to be played at Gymkhana Club Ground, Nairobi which will get underway from 3:45 PM (NST). Action Sports will broadcast the series in Nepal while people in USA or Canada can watch the stream on Willow TV. VU Sport will telecast in India whereas the rest of the others can be updated from ICC TV.
Kenya vs Nepal fixtures:
1st T20I: (August 25)
2nd T20I: (August 26)
3rd T20I: (August 28)
4th T20I: (August 29)
5th T20I: (August 30)
1st One Day: (September 2)
2nd One Day: (September 3)
3rd One Day: (September 5)