Kathmandu, April 18:Â Nepal will look to continue their winning momentum in the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) as the hosts prepare for second clash against visiting Namibia in their third round match at the TU Stadium on Monday.
Nepal ended their losing streak in the WCLC defeating Namibia by five wickets in the first match at the same venue on Saturday. The first win lifted Nepal to sixth from the eighth spot and another win on Monday can push them to fifth ahead of Papua New Guinea (PNG) on net run-rate. Nepal are tied on two points with Namibia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but stay ahead on run rate.
PNG have four points after two roundsâ€”four matchesâ€”while Nepal and Namibia have played five matches each. The UAE have already played three rounds. In a tournament that offers 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers for the top four teams, Netherlands (10), Hong Kong (nine) and Scotland (seven) are inside the top three with all three teams playing three rounds. Kenya are up next with six points from two rounds.
Nepal will next play away to table toppers the Netherlands in fourth round in August with three more rounds remaining against Kenya (at home), Hong Kong (away) and UAE (at neutral venue). But Nepal skipper Paras Khadka wanted to remain focused on Mondayâ€™s game.
â€œThere are a lot of good teams in the tournament and we probably have three away games remaining. At this level, no team is easy to play. We remain focused for Monday. The question is about how we move on from here,â€ said Khadka. Nepal had to struggle in their chase on Monday despite restricting Namibia to 195-9 in 50 overs winning the game in the 48th over, thanks to an unbroken 84-run sixth wicket stand between Sharad Vesawkar and Binod Bhandari. Khadka sums up Saturday as a good day adding his side needs to improvise in the next game.
â€œThe surface on Saturday was not easy to bat on but we need to make sure that we come up with even better performance. Everyone contributed in Saturdayâ€™s victory and we have to repeat the same performance. We have to stick with our game plans,â€ added Khadka. With the pitch condition unlikely to change, Nepalâ€™s key will once again be the spinners, who bowled 40 overs on Saturday conceding 148 runs.
â€œIt is going to be a spinning surface and that will be our weapon once again. In batting department, we have to adapt to the surface. We need a good start,â€ said the skipper. With Sagar Punâ€™s inclusion uncertain due to hamstring injury, Nepal are likely to go with the same squad.
Namibia will have to find ways to tackle Nepali spinners. â€œOur focus will be to negotiate with the Nepali spinners in the middle stages of our innings. We had a great start today but couldnâ€™t capitalise on them. Rotating strikes, taking singles and couples will be very crucial for us going into the second match,â€ Namibia skipper Stephan Baard had said after Saturdayâ€™s match.