Nepal eye history against Kiwis

Colombo, February 17:

Nepali colts can rewrite history books if they beat New Zealand in the Plate Championship final of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup here on Saturday. This is Nepal’s second appearance in the Plate final, but is yet to win the championship. Last time, Nepal reached the final in New Zealand in 2002 but lost to Zimbabwe by 137 runs.

Nepal is an underdog in the final as New Zealand is one of the 10 Test-playing nations of the world. But, the performance of both the teams are moreover same in the tournament. Both Nepal and New Zealand won one match each in the league round.

Nepal beat Ireland in the league round and New Zealand defeated Ireland in the Plate quarters. New Zealand defeated Uganda in the league round and coincidentally, Nepal outplayed Uganda in the Plate quarters.

Nepali players are on a high and have attracted the cricketing world to them after their two-run victory over Test national South Africa in Thursday’s semi-final. Nepal is the only Associate nation who have pulled at least one upset in every edition of the World Cup.

Nepal’s coach Roy Luke Dias said that the tem might be the same that beat South Africa. “Moreover the same team will play tomorrow, but the final decision will be taken only after inspecting the pitch,” he said.

“As a Test playing nation New Zealand is obviously a strong team, but we have also proved that we are also not a weak side,” he said. “After beating South Africa in semi-final, we have pressure to beat New Zealand and win the Plate Championship,” he added.

Nepal’s strategy worked against South Africa and the team management is in the mood to come with similar line-up. Yashwant Subedi might find the place to add some strength in the batting line, while inexperienced duop of Avay Rana and Bantu Bataju are likely to be dropped with Shashi Keshari super-sub as usual.

Nepal has been concentrating in batting in the last few matches. Skipper Kanishka Chaugain

leads the batting line-up with wicketkeeper Mahesh Chhetri, Sharad Vesawkar, Gyanendra Malla, vice captain Paras Khadka, Prem Chaudhary, Basanta Regmi, Yashwant.In bowling, slow bowlers have been successful rather than the pace bowlers. Basanta Regmi is the most success Nepali bowler in the tournament with nine wickets, while Paras and Ratan have taken six each and Shashi five.

Nepal has found defending the total rather than chasing the target easy in the tournament, which skipper Chaugain also accepts. “We have been in difficulty in chasing, while defending a total has become easier for us,” he said, adding that he would bat first if he wins the toss against New Zealand on Saturday at the P Sara Stadium, where Nepal defeated Uganda by 60 runs.