Nepal eye historic win against UAE

Kuala Lumpur, July 31:

After winning the four league-round matches impressively, Nepal are eyeing the berth in the final and the Asia Cup when they play against the United Arab Emirates in the semi-finals of the ACC Trophy Elite Cup here on Friday.

The finalists will qualify for Asia the 2010 Cup, where they will join Asian giants India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the one-day form of the game. Nepal had qualified for the 2002 Asia Cup, but the Asian Cricket Council scrapped the edition because of the tensions between India and Pakistan.

So far the Nepali team has preformed well in Malaysia and the players are on

high morale for the match against one of the tough opponents. Nepal finished atop Group B, while the UAE advance to the last four as the Group A runners up.

Nepal have never beaten the UAE in the one-day form of the game in their five previous meetings. In three-day format of the game, Nepal defeated the UAE by 172 runs in Kathmandu, while the junior Nepali cricketers have beaten the UAE on all occasions.

Going by the statistics, Nepal need to put up a good fight at the Selangor Turf Club, where they have won both the matches played this time around.

Coach Roy Luke Dias have decided to give the opening responsibility to Paresh Lohani and Kanishka Chaugain, while he is including leg spinner Sanjam Regmi in place of Raj Kumar Pradhan to stop the left-handed UAE batsmen from scoring freely.

“The boys have put up a good show in all the three departments in the previous four matches and we need the same spirit from all the players in the semi-finals to beat the UAE,” said Dias, who has instructed the players to play a natural game without feeling any pressure.

Skipper Binod Das said the boys needed to maintain the form. “So far we have

not given any chance to the critics and the team is determined to put up a good show,” said Das, adding he preferred to bat first against the UAE. “We will have to put up runs on the board and I think our bowling and fielding are good enough to defend the 200 plus score,” he added.

Das also said that all the players were ready to play in any position and that the team had some quality players who could turn the match from any point. “We have quality players and we can win the match if we just give continuity to the performance of the previous matches,” he said.

Team Manager Pawan Agrawal, who is also the former national team skipper, said the players need to take the game as just another match. “If the players treat the match as just another game instead of taking it as the semi-final, there will be no pressure at all,” he said.

“And the players will have to play as per the situation instead of sticking to a certain game plan,” said the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) executive committee member Agrawal, who was the member of the 1996 ACC Trophy team, vice captain in 1998 and led the team in 2000 ACC Trophy.

Squad: Binod Das (captain), Paras Khadka (vice captain), Mahesh Chhetry (wicketkeeper), Paresh Lohani, Kanishka Chaugain, Sharad Vesawkar, Gyanendra Malla, Shakti Gauchan, Basanta Regmi, Mehboob Alam, Sanjam Regmi.