Nepal take on USA today

Kathmandu, July 9

Nepal will be hoping to make a winning start when they take on the United States of America in the Group A match of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers  at the Stormont grounds in Belfast, Ireland on Friday.

The two teams are playing their first official Twenty20 match, although they have met 11 times in all forms of the game in the past. The USA won the warm-up T20 match ahead of the World T20 Qualifiers in the UAE in 2013, while Nepal have registered five wins in the 50-over matches against America’s three. The other two matches were washed out.

Nepal coach Pubudu Dassanayake said the team had the potential to beat the new-look USA side. “The USA team is full of new faces and we know we can beat them if we perform to our potential,” said Dassanayake, whose team spent two weeks in Dharamshala, India before the one-week training in the UK. The team then played four-match Twenty20 International series against the Netherlands before leaving for Ireland.

“India, UK and the Netherlands were one of the best preparation tours we had. We struggled with the conditions in the UK and Netherlands and that was the way I wanted to go through into the qualifiers,” said Dassanayake. Asked about the first-match pressure, Dassanayake said: “Pressure is always there until we get through and the last two tours helped us to handle those situations.”

Dassanayake, who kept on shuffling the batting order in training and the Netherlands series, hinted at continuing to do that to get the best out of the team. “We had given challenges to every player; some came though while some struggled. I think everyone is in very good shape as they have understood their roles,” he said. “I will let the middle order at their positions and mix the top and tailenders,” added the Canadian. In Friday’s other matches, hosts Ireland will face Namibia, while Canada take on Kenya, and Afghanistan meet the UAE. On Thursday, co-hosts Scotland opened the campaign with a nine-wicket victory over the UAE.

After the USA clash, Nepal will face Namibia on July 11 before taking on defending champions Ireland two days later. They will play Hong Kong on July 15, Papua New Guinea on July 17 and wrap up the group-stage round with  match against Jersey on July 18. Afghanistan, Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, Oman, Scotland and the UAE are in Group B.

The group winners will earn tickets to India, while second and third placed teams from two pools will compete in cross over matches with winners going through. The two losers and fourth-placed team from two groups will face off for the remaining last two berths. The six qualifiers from the tournament will join 10 Full Members in the ICC World Twenty20 slated for March 11 to April 3 next year in India.