Nepal eye win over Ireland


Nepal will be looking for a victory in their bid to finish first in Group A of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Stormont, Belfast on Monday.

Nepal, who opened the campaign with a six-wicket victory over the United States of America on Thursday before the match against Namibia was washed out yesterday, are at the second position of the standing with three points. Co-hosts Ireland, who defeated USA by 46 runs to register their second straight victory, accumulated four points to move atop the table.

The match — their first official game at this level — is crucial for both the teams as they are eying to finish at the top of the table, which not only guarantee a spot in final, but also earn a berth in the ICC World T20 slated for India next year. In their previous meeting, Ireland had defeated Nepal by five wickets in a warm-up match ahead of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in 2014.

Nepal coach Pubudu Dassanayake said the win against Ireland would be crucial in their bid to finish as the group winners. “We are in good position at the moment,” said Dassanayake. “And if we want to become No 1, we have to win against Ireland,” he added.

Asked about the possible team to face the hosts, Dassanayake said he would take the final decision of the playing XI only after assessing the conditions. “We will have to see the pitch first before picking the team as the conditions here has been changing every day,” he added. The Canadian coach said regular opener and wicketkeeper Subash Khakurel was dropped from the first two matches because of his performance. “Subash is in bad form,” he added.

Binod Bhandari was given the gloves in the first two matches but he has struggled with the bat scoring just seven against the USA. In Khakurel’s absence, Sagar Pun and Anil Mandal opened the innings for Nepal but they are also yet to provide desired start for the team. Moreover, the team has been heavily dependent on the performance of skipper Paras Khadka, his deputy Gyanendra Malla and Sharad Vesawkar in the middle, while veteran spinners Shakti Prasad Gauchan and Basant Regmi have been able to check runs and make crucial breakthroughs.