Coach, skipper urge top-order batsmen to get runs.

Kathmandu, November 9:

Nepal go into the three-day ACC Premier League match with high hopes of claiming a maiden victory over Singapore here at the Tribhuvan University Stadium from Friday.

Both the coach Roy Luke Dias and skipper Binod Das urged the top-order batsmen to click especially after the 97-run defeat at the hands of the United Arab Emirates at Sharjah Cricket Stadium recently.

“Our batting faltered at the UAE and we need our senior batsmen to contribute runs,” said former Sri Lankan Test International Dias, who indicated to go with three fast bowlers and a couple of spinners.

“Singapore are a better side now, they have a couple of new faces and our senior players need to click,” he added. Asked about the opening pair after experiments against Hong Kong and the UAE did not fare well, Dias said that he would once again go with Mahesh Chhetry as he did against the UAE.

“We tried Gyanendra Malla against the UAE, and now I don’t want to sacrifice him,” he clarified. Nepal are facing a crisis of opening partner for Paresh Lohani after Kanishka Chaugain left for the US for further studies.

Mehboob Alam, who missed the UAE match after he was denied visa, is back in the squad and the selectors have replaced Antim Thapa with leg-spinner Bijay Thapa. “Mehboob’s return is good for us and we preferred Bijay as we are trying to rotate players,” said Dias. “I think it’s going to be a good match,” he added.

Singapore coach Venkateramana, who took over the team last February just before the ACC Trophy in Malaysia, said that he was not taking the match lightly. “We did well against Hong Kong and Malaysia, and we are taking this match seriously as Nepal are playing good these days,” said Venkateramana.

“Our team is a blend of experienced and some talented youngsters but we are missed the expertise of some some key players like Munish Arora, Kevin Robinson, Balaji, Yogesh and Vivek,” said the Indian coach, who has played one Test and two one-dayers for India during 1989-91.

He also said that he would go with three fast bowlers, two spinners and a couple of bowling allrounders. “We are at the building stage, so the youngsters should take the opportunity,” he added.

Das was also of the same view as Dias regarding the UAE match. “I would like to call it a batting failure against the UAE and now we want our senior members get runs as we are looking for an outright win against Singapore,” said Das, who returned wicketless against the UAE.

“Having lost to the UAE, we will go for an outright victory to keep our hopes alive in the tournament,” said Das. “We will have a favourable conditions and crowd advantage while playing at home. So I am confident of beating Singapore,” said Das.

Asked about the top-order failure in batting, Das said that the players were excellent during the practice but fail to deliver in the match. “They are brilliant during the training, but I can’t explain what happens when we go into the match,” said concerned Das.

Singapore skipper Chaminda Ruwan was hopeful of the good contest over the next three days. “I hope we can give a tough fight to the home team,” said the leading scorer so far with 287 runs in two matches at an average of 95.66 including two centuries.