Nepal has already achieved what it targeted to achieve in the ICC T20 Qualifier-World Cup Berth. With the biggest moment in Nepalese sports history in the pocket, the upcoming matches will no way match the same thrill as the previous one. But when Nepal takes on Afghanistan tomorrow in the semi final of the tournament, Nepal has a lot of things play for-domination at top associate level, avenging the previous losses and rivalry are my top 3.
Paras Khadka has time and again expressed that Nepali Cricket Team plays for the fans. If there is one thing that fans wanted nearly as much as World Cup Qualification, it was defeating Afghanistan. In the last few years Afghan vs. Nepal tie has been budding as rivalry-the group match witnessed by thousands of Nepalese and Afghan fans gave it one more push. Despite wet ground condition both teams wanted to serve a game to their fans and gave everything they had in desperation to win the game.
2. Stamping Authority
Pubudu Dassanayeke before leaving to UAE told media’s that Nepali Team wanted to qualify to the World Cup dominating the tournament. So far only former (WC Qualification) of that aim has been achieved. Nepal qualified for the World Cup defeating 5 teams (Denmark, Kenya, PNG, Bermuda, and Hong Kong). These were the same five teams Nepal had defeated in the previous edition of the tournament. Nepal was easily defeated by stronger teams like Netherlands, Scotland and Afghanistan. The next phase of the tournament played for silverware will be ideal for Nepalese team to assert itself as top associate side defeating the stronger teams.
What started in 2007 as an upset has shaped itself as biggest challenge for Nepal in Cricket. In those 6 years Nepal has played 5 T20 matches and 4 ODIs, against Afghanistan facing defeat in all of them. (Nepal, although did come close to defeating the Afghan side in ACC T20 Cup 2010 and ACC Emerging Teams Cup in 2013).Nepali Cricket Team is prying for revenge against Afghanistan for all the humiliating losses.
Tomorrow’s match has the perfect set up for Nepal to avenge all the losses. With the decent performance against the mighty Afghanistan in previous match, Nepal will go into the match with the belief they can beat them. The pressure table has now turned- having qualified for the world cup Nepal will play tomorrow’s match with a lot less pressure. Afghanistan in the other hand being the stronger side will feel the pressure to keep away spirited Nepal team, which is ranked much lower than them.
This is the biggest T20 Cricket Tournament for an Associate Level Cricket. A win tomorrow will take Nepal to the Final ensuring the Nepalese team tags along silverware with the joy of World Cup Qualification when they return.
5. Tiding the Team
Nepalese team have been inconsistent all the way. Although they made it to the world they haven’t still served the best game together. The pressure free games from tomorrow could help the team tidy up a bit.
6. Big Stage
Lucrative franchises from leagues like IPL (Indian Premiere Leagues); BPL(Bangladesh Premiere League) are likely scouting for talent. Its an opportunity for Nepalese players to stand up!