Kathmandu- The ICC U19 World Cup Qualifier is all set to start tomorrow with the second best teams from the five regional qualifiers vying for the remaining one spot in the ICC U19 World Cup. Nepal(Asian), Ireland(Europe) Papua New Guinea(East Asia Pacific), Uganda (Africa) and United States (America) are participating the event hoping to make the cut for U19 World Cup Bangladesh in 2016. Nepal will take on PNG in the tournament opener tomorrow.
The tournament will be played between 15-22 October in Malaysia. The winner of this tournament will join the ten Test-playing nations along with Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Namibia and Scotland in Bangaldesh for ICC U-19 World Cup in 2016. The 12 matches will be hosted in 2 venues – Kinnara Oval and Byeumans Oval.
Nepal and Ireland are the top contenders to garb the position. However, Nepal looks the most formidable team as Nepal will have the advantage of spin favourable conditions.
Nepal U19- Poor infrastructure forced ICC to shift the tournament from Nepal to Malaysia. However, Nepal will have most of the advantage as Nepal plays lots of games in Malaysia and most of the players are familiar to the conditions there. Just a month before, Nepal participated in the ACC U19 Premier Legaue in Malaysia, finishing second behind the Afghanistan side. Similarly, significant number of fans will turn out in Malaysia to watch their team play to boost the team’s confidence.
Speaking to Cricnepal, coach Jagat Tamata said that he was very happy with the way the preparation went. “The guys did fantastic job, winning five out of five matches against strong teams in New Delhi. Skipper Raju Rijal and Aarif Sheikh scored runs. We’ve got strong bowling unit. Moreover, we’ll have most of the advantage of the condition there. Hopefully, we can come on top,” the coach said.
The team possess lots of experience as most of the players in the team have played cricket together for more than a year now. Spinner Sushil Kandel starred in the ACC U19 Premier League 2015 last month in the Malaysian soil with left arm orthodox. The team can expect him as well as other spinners perform with same intensity this time as well. The only concern for Nepal is the batting, especially how the batting unit will response if wickets fall quickly.
Preparation ahead of the qualifiers
Nepal won all five matches that they played against various team from New Delhi. The youth side comprehensively thrashed all five team. This feat is specially remarkable as the teams consisted some of players who had previously played for the Delhi state team and the Delhi Ranji team.
5th match: Nepal U19 VS LB Shastri Cricket Club, Nepal U19 won by 16 runs.
Nepal U19- 178/10, 49 overs.
LB Shastri Cricket Club- 162/10, 43.2 overs.
4th match: Nepal U19 VS Nazafghar Cricket Academy, Nepal U19 won by five wickets.
Nazafghar Cricket Academy- 124/10, 43 overs
Nepal U19- 125/5, 35.3 overs.
3rd Match: Nepal U19 VS RP Cricket Academy, Nepal U19 won by five wickets.
RP Cricket Academy- 208/8, 50 overs
Nepal U19- 210/5, 45.4 overs.
2nd match: Nepal U19 VS Vijay Dahiya Cricket Club, Nepal U19 won by 36 runs
Nepal U19- 238/10, 48.4 overs
Vijay Dahiya Cricket Club- 202/10, 48.2 overs
1st match: Nepal U19 VS Vijay Dahiya Cricket Club, Nepal U19 won by six wickets.
Vijay Dahiya Cricket Club – 170/10, 47.4
Nepal U19- 171/4, 27.2 overs.
The preparation of other teams has not been as starring as that of Nepal. Ireland which is currently in Malaysia for preparation played two matches with Royal Malaysian Air force, losing the first match by 56 runs and winning the other by 96 runs. PNG in the other hand played 3 practice matches all against Singapore U19 team – losing two and winning one. Uganda who were part of 2004 and 2006 U-19 World Cup prepared for the qualifiers in Kenya against Kenya U-23 teams where they won 2 of the 3 matches.
Nepal U19 VS PNG U19
Nepal plays its first game of the tournament against PNG at Kinrara Oval, Malaysia on October 15 (tomorrow). The match starts at 7:15 NST.
Nepal lost to PNG by 8 wickets in the warm up match of the ICC U19 World Cup 2012, Australia. PNG, back then chased a target of 214 run in just 40.3 overs losing two wickets.