Bruised Nepal take on Hong Kong today


Nepal will take on familiar foes Hong Kong in the Group A match of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Stormont, Belfast on Wednesday.

While Nepal were hurt by the humiliating eight-wicket loss at the hands of co-hosts Ireland on Monday, Hong Kong are yet to register victory in the tournament. The two teams have met five times in the shortest version of the game in the past, with Nepal winning three of them. Hong Kong were also the winners of the one-off T20 International match in their last encounter in Sri Lanka last year.

Nepal, who began the tournament with a six-wicket victory over the United States of America in July 10 before their second match against Namibia was washed out the following day, slumped to their all time low score of 54 against Ireland on Monday. Put into bat first, Nepal were all out for a paltry 54 runs, the second lowest score in the history of Twenty20 Internationals behind the Netherlands’ 39 against Sri Lanka in World T20 in Bangladesh last year.

Coach Pubudu Dassanayake said the seaming wicket was the reason behind the collapse. “No excuses but we were aggressive thinking that we had to try little extra to beat Ireland to become No 1 team in the pool,” said the coach. “We tried something different against Ireland, but no need to worry as we can still finish second or third by beating Hong Kong and PNG.”

Asked about Wednesday’s match, Dassanayake said Hong Kong was a team with couple of good players. “We cannot relax and will play to our strength and we are confident of winning the match,” said the coach, hinting at bringing in regular opener Subash Khakurel, who was dropped in the first three matches because of his poor form. “Surely we are not in our comfort zone but skills are good enough to handle these teams. We will work hard and do well in the rest of the tournament,” added Dassanayake.

Nepal are currently in the fourth position with three points from as many matches, while Hong Kong are sixth with just one. Ireland lead the table with six points, followed by PNG and Namibia, who also have three points.