Nepal open against Hong Kong today

Kuala Lumpur, July 24:

Nepal will open their ACC Trophy Elite Cup with a match against Hong Kong here at the Selangor Turf Club on Friday.

The Nepali teams’ confidence is high following their three wins in as many matches against the Sri Lankan Board-XI recently. The statistics, however, favours Hong Kong who have won three out of four previous meetings in the ACC Trophy. Nepal lost in 1996, 1998 and 2000 and won in 2006.

Although the statistics indicate Nepal the weaker team than Hong Kong, Nepal’s Sri Lankan coach Roy Luke Dias believed his team has improved a lot over the years. “Three warm-up matches played in Sri Lanka will make a huge difference in the players performance here,” said Dias.

Nepali captain Binod Das also believed that wins against the Sri Lanka Board-XI will make a huge difference. “It would be tough to choose the playing 11 as everybody looks to be in fine form,” said Das. “We are here to win the tournament and are eager to start our campaign with victory over Hong Kong,” Das added.

Dias has not picked up the playing 11 for the Hong Kong match yet but spinner Sanjam Regmi and medium paceman Amrit Bhattarai are likely to be excluded. It is also possible either that the coach axe Paresh Lohani or Dipendra Chaudhary. The final decision is likely to be taken after the inspection of the pitch.

Team manager Pawan Agrawal was confident of his team’s victory. “It should not be difficult to beat Hong Kong after what we did to the Sri Lankan opponent in the warm-up matches,” Agrawal said.

Nepal are drawn in Group B with Hong Kong, Qatar, Singapore and Kuwait. Group A comprises

of United Arab Emirates (UAE), Afghanistan, Bahrain, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Nepal play back-to-back match against Qatar on Saturday before taking on Singapore on July 28.

Their final league match is against Kuwait two days later. Top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.