• April 28 vs USA
• April 29 vs Uganda
• May 1 vs Bermuda
• May 2 vs Oman
• May 4 vs Italy
KATHMANDU: Riding high on confidence gained from back-to-back success‚ Nepal will be out to prove themselves when the team begins its ICC World Cricket League Division-III campaign in Bermuda from April 28.
Nepal have been a team to watch out among the Associate & Affiliate nations following their performance in the last one year. After finishing seventh in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier on March 23‚ the team has won the ICC World Cricket League Division-IV in Malaysia on September 10 and landed home the historic ACC Trophy Elite title sharing the trophy with hosts the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on October 12.
They recently finished the ACC Twenty20 Cup as runners-up in a tournament that was played on home grounds. Coach Pubudu Dassanayake said Nepal are heading for Bermuda to return back with the Division-III — which sends the top two teams into the 2014 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier — title.
“We deserve to win the Division-III because we have been a strong team both on papers and on the field. Two international titles and one runner-up finish are enough to define us‚” Dassanayake told The Himalayan Times before leaving for Bermuda. Uganda is the only unfamiliar team for Nepal in Division-III where they will also meet the USA‚ hosts Bermuda‚ Italy and Oman.
Nepal have defeated USA twice when the team lifted the Division-IV trophy. They have also beaten Italy in the 2010 Division-IV tournament at their home grounds‚ while Bermuda were also beaten in ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE. However‚ coach Dassanayake said they cannot take any team lightly.
“We are not underestimating any opponent because we are not playing in our own conditions. Bermuda have played one World Cup (2007) and now they are playing at their own backyard. They rely heavily on some particular players and we need to take care of them‚” said the coach adding‚ “Uganda have been regularly playing in the World Cup qualifiers and they are completely unknown opponent for us.”
“Italy and Oman have some good players and we are well aware of their strength and weaknesses. We have beaten USA twice but have to be careful with some of their players‚” he added. In the run-up to Division-III‚ Nepal had won all four of their practice matches in Jaipur but completely owing to the performance from their middle order.
While the openers were unable to deliver‚ middle order batsmen Gyanendra Malla‚ Sharad Vesawkar and Binod Bhandari had taken Nepal over the victory line. However‚ Dassanayake and skipper Paras Khadka was confident that their openers will come good in Bermuda.
“We won two international tournaments last year mainly because of our openers. We trust them and believe that they will find their form‚” said Paras. Openers Subash Khakurel and Anil Mandal had made centuries when Nepal lifted the Division-IV title in Malaysia. And it was the same opening pair that helped ensure Nepal share the ACC Trophy Elite title with UAE after giving Nepal a perfect start with a 94-run stand in a chase of 242 runs.
Paras said it was now time to prove themselves. “We have worked really hard over the last one year. The Jaipur tour has helped us a lot and now its time for us to deliver. We have to be ready for every surprises
that we could meet in the unknown conditions‚” said the skipper.
Team : Paras Khadka (capt)‚ Subash Khakurel‚ Anil Mandal‚ Gyanendra Malla‚ Binod Bhadari‚ Sharad Vesawkar‚ Pradeep Airee‚ Basanta Regmi‚ Sanjam Regmi‚ Amrit Bhattarai‚ Chadra Sawad‚ Prithu Baskota‚ Rahul Kumar BK. Coach: Pubudu Dassanayake