Weak batting bogs down Team Nepal

The men’s national cricket team of Nepal returned to action amidst high expectations last month.

The team had a hectic schedule as they participated in three tournaments consecutively in a little over a month.

Since Nepal hosted the tournaments cricket buffs across the country had a heightened air of expectancy.

Nepal’s recent success on home turf had local fans optimistic about their team’s chances.

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2024/27 and T20 International Triangular series featuring Nepal, the Netherlands and Namibia were the bigger and important tournaments.

The two unofficial one day international series against Canada provided a perfect platform to emerging players knocking on the selectors door.

For the second one day series against Canada, Cricket Association of Nepal fielded Nepal A, comprising experienced players and rising stars who have been performing consistently in domestic and international competitions.

The team was skippered by experienced right-handed batter and wicket keeper Binod Bhandari.

Taking the opportunity, Head coach Monty Desai rightly included a host of newcomers in the squad for the Canada series.

Although a handful of regulars were rested in the first series against Canada, it served as a tune-up for the team prior to the triangular series against the Netherlands and Namibia.

Team Nepal dominated the first three -match one day series by whitewashing Canada.

It was competitive and entertaining. The home team dominated both batting and bowling to win the series in a convincing manner.

In the first match Anil Kumar Sah and Bhim Sharki batted brilliantly, hitting centuries and remained unbeaten on 112 and 102 respectively.

Sah maintained his form by cracking 50 in the second match. Skipper Rohit Paudel and Dev Khanal, skipper of the men’s under-19 national team played useful knocks of 87 and 76 respectively.

Explosive batter Kushal Bhurtel with 62 runs was the top scorer in the third match.

It was encouraging to see budding cricketers Hemant Dhami, Aakash Chand, Surya Tamang and Rijan Dhakal make their one day debut in the series.

Canada bounced back to win the second one day series 2-1 against Nepal A. Inconsistent and fragile batting contributed to Nepal’s series loss.

Given Nepal’s recent sensational winning performances on their home ground, they enjoyed a competitive edge over the Netherlands and Namibia in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2.

With 8 points at stake, they had a great chance to grab maximum points. However, one big question in everyone’s mind was, will they be able to sustain the competitive advantage?

As it transpired, the answer was no, much to our chagrin. They were a pale shadow of its former self, especially the batting department.

Contrary to expectations, they ended up winning one and losing 3 matches. Once more inept batting led to Nepal’s debacle.

The only time the batting came alive was against the Netherlands in the second match which they won by nine wickets.

After bowling out the opposition for 137 runs, they reached the winning target in just 15.3 overs for the loss of a solitary wicket.

Nepal’s batting was well below average in the three matches and were unable to cross the 200 mark. They couldn’t bat full 50 overs and were cheaply dismissed for a total of 132,168 and 172.

By and large, the top-order batters were inconsistent, failed to steady the innings with big partnerships and deliver under pressure.

They lacked focus, application, commitment, match temperament and correct technique.

Unquestionably they should have done a much better job. The batting failure is a significant deterrent to the team’s progress.

It’s imperative that they show maturity, consistency and improvement in their batting to gain ground in international competitions.

Evidently batting continues to be Nepal’s biggest weakness. They have to find ways to improve and consolidate the batting.

Comparatively the bowlers have been consistently living up to their expectations and delivering the goods.

The batting failure has put them under constant pressure. That said, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

There was further disappointment for Team Nepal as they lost to the Netherlands in the final of the Twenty20 International Triangular.

They did bounce back after two successive wins but failed to ride the momentum in the final.

As I write, Team Nepal suffered another embarrassing defeat at the hands of Papua New Guinea in the final of the Triangular Twenty20 International series in Hongkong.

In another disastrous batting performance they could only manage a paltry 85 runs in 16.3 overs.

Nepal had prevailed over the same opponent handily in the first meeting. Also that was the only time they batted with some degree of authority in the competition.

In the opener against Hongkong, Nepal paid dearly for the mediocre batting. Chasing a score of 212, their innings folded at 139 in 16.4 overs .

It is crystal clear that Team Nepal must turn around its batting performance to become competitive and stand a chance in the upcoming ACC Men’s Premier Cup and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Otherwise, the weak batting will continue to obstruct them from getting the desired results.