Nepal eye upset results against B’desh, Lanka

Kathmandu, November 14

Nepal will be looking for a couple of upset results when they enter the ACC Women’s Asia Cup in Thailand later this month.

Nepal got the opportunity to feature in the Asia Cup after finishing second behind Thailand in the qualifiers.

The Twenty20 format cricket event will be played between six teams — four Test-playing nations in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and hosts Thailand — at Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok from November 26 to December 4 and this will be Nepal’s second consecutive participation in the competition.

Nepal played last edition in 2012 when China hosted the competition in Guangzhou. Nepal faced defeats in all three group stage matches against Test-playing nations Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and hosts China then. This time around the Nepali camp is in a different mood.

The team is looking for upset results against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the tournament. “We can produce upset results against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” says skipper Rubina Chhetri. “And we will try our best to put up good shows against India and Pakistan,” she added.

Nepal faced a 20-run defeat against Sri Lanka despite Chhetri bagging four wickets to pack the opponents for 78 runs, while they lost to Bangladesh by nine wickets in China.

Nepal also suffered a 85-run loss at the hands of Bangladesh in the Incheon Asian Games of South Korea in 2014. But the team’s morale has gone up since their second-place finish in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers Asia Region in Hong Kong last month.

Nepal had entered the tournament after training for more than 40 days and the team won three out of the six matches played in the tournament.

“Asia Cup is one of the biggest tournaments for us and the team is in good shape as we played six matches in Hong Kong and had more than 40 days of training before the competition,” said coach Raju Basnyat, who helped Nepal qualify for the Asia Cup.

But coach Basnyat said the team lacked match exposure and said the training period was not adequate given the magnitude of the tournament.

“Since it is Asia Cup, it would have been better had we get the chance to go to one of the four Test-playing nations to play four to five practice matches,” said Basnyat. “And we had planned to start training from November 2 but that was also not possible and the players assembled on November 10,” said Basnyat.

The team got 14 days of rest after the World Cup qualifiers and no one took the responsibility to start the closed camp training since International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Cricket Association of Nepal. The training was possible only after Asian Cricket Council (ACC) took the responsibility and assured of providing facilities.

Currently there are 18 cricketers in the camp and the 15-member final squad is expected to be announced by Tuesday.

Nepal will take on Pakistan in their opening match on November 26 and face Sri Lanka two days later. They will play against Bangladesh on November 29. Nepal will then face Thailand on December 1 and end the campaign with a match against defending champions India the following day. The final is scheduled for December 4.