International, National

Preview: Must win game for Nepal against Hong Kong

Nepal take on Hong Kong in a must win match of the ACC Trophy Elite at ICC Global Cricket Academy, Dubai on Tuesday.

With 6 points from four matches,  U.A.E is leading the points table while it is a clash between Hong Kong and Nepal for a semi final spot as they battle it out on Tuesday.

Sitting comfortable at No 1, U.A.E have a net run-rate of +1.780 while Hong Kong (+1.443) and Nepal (+1.290) are playing their last group stage match on Tuesday as the game decide the semifinalists along with the group winner and runner up.

Winning the opener against the top staying U.A.E, Nepal came to a shocking defeat against Kuwait during their second match while Hong Kong lost to U.A.E and each have equal three wins.

Hong Kong will be back after their cruising six wickets loss to U.A.E, as they face a must-win situation in order to stay alive in the tournament. Meanwhile, in the form, Nepal would continue their momentum after that nine wickets victory over the bottom staying Saudi Arabia.

With lack of pacers, Nepal would hope a good play from their spinners and their part time bowlers. Nepal’s left arm pace bowler Amrit Bhattarai had an injury with the chest and didn’t play the last two matches while bowled only half of an maximum quota in the first match against U.A.E.  While, Binod Das didn’t play any of the last three matches. However, the close source says Bhattarai may play against Hong Kong at risk though he has been advised to take rest for a month.

Meanwhile, Nepal’s batting have progressed so far with Gyanendra Malla, openers duo Anil Mandal, Subash Khakurel and the middle orders staying at hunt.

Shakti Gauchan, who stands second at the leading wicket takers tally is the most important player for Nepal ever since his return to the team. He has already claimed 9 wickets from 3 matches, 5 of which were against U.A.E., the tournament favorites.

On the other hand, Hong Kong would like to continue their ACC trophy campaign with a win. Being the Division II team, Atkinson’s side would be confident to take over the recent Division IV champions Nepal with the fresh talents in their side.  Hong Kong have quite new faces but they have got the good all rounders. “Our batting was always the issue, but this team has better batsman than the past”, says Hong Kong’s bowling coach Afzaal Haider. It is hard to say who wins at the moment but looking at Hong Kong team’s strength in bowling and batting, Hong Kong have advantage. Nepal has been always tough, disciplined and hard to be beaten, he adds.

While, Nepal’s coach says, Boys are confident of the win. Loosing to Kuwait was unexpected and it was definitely a learning situation. Hong Kong is a good side and as winning this match is a must, we will play our best.

The match will be an exciting one as it will also decide the group winner. The looser of the match will be eliminated while the margin will too count. If Hong Kong win by 148 or more runs or chase in 21 or less overs, then Hong Kong will finish as group winner while for Nepal to finish as group winner, a win by a margin of 150 or more runs or a chase within 18.5 overs or less is needed.

Nepal have played six 50 overs matches against Hong Kong so far and won three of them while three were won by Hong Kong.  Nepal had lost to Hong Kong by 6 wickets in ACC Trophy 1996 held in Malaysia. Nepal lost another two ACC Trophy matches against Hong Kong, one in 2000 in Kathmandu by 6 wickets while another  in U.A.E. Nepal defeated Hong Kong by 87 runs in ACC Trophy 2006 at Malaysia. Nepal also won against Hong Kong during the 2008 edition in Malaysia and 2010 edition in Kuwait by 44 and 118 runs respectively.