Nepal makes perfect  start to ODI

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By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax,VA

 

In a thrilling and pulsating finish,the national cricket team of Nepal notched up a  sensational one run victory over the Netherlands to level the 50-over One Day International series in the Netherlands.

There is no better way to conclude the series than winning the last game.Certainly, our cricketers have made a  compelling statement to the cricket world.

This, however, is just the beginning  of a long, arduous and challenging journey into the world of international cricket.

The remarkable start to the One Day International competition is a huge momentum builder for Nepal. They have earned pride, respect and recognition.

I have run out of superlatives to describe Nepal’s first One Day International(ODI)  win. I will say though, it was a monumental victory that will go down in the annals of Nepal cricket’s history as one of the greatest achievements.

This is a proud moment for all our cricketers, fans and the country.Congratulations Team Nepal and the coaching  staff on your well-deserved history making achievement.

The indomitable spirit of Nepal was in full display as they rebounded  to win the second ODI in style after losing the first.

In a thrill -fueled,edge-of-the seat affair that went right down to the wire,Paras Khadka in charge of the final over of the game put in a captain’s performance to give his team a memorable victory.

Once again,Khadka displayed his  dogged determination, class and mental toughness to beat the odds when the team most needed him.

Agreed that the important victory was  achieved through a collective team effort but individual brilliance made the big difference.

Sans Captain Khadka’s  fighting 51 runs,coupled  with the match winning bowling performance, youngster Sompal Kami’s belligerent knock of  61 and crucial wicket of opener Myburgh and leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane’s three wicket haul,probably, Nepal would not have pulled off the famous win.

When all is said and done, batting is Nepal’s chink in the armor. We have seen it tournament after tournament, The latest batting performance was no different. In fact, it was the same old story.

Nobody disputes the fact that inconsistent and wobbling batting has left a big question mark. From top to middle order, batting line-up has looked incredibly fragile and brittle.

Poor batting is taking its toll on the team. As a result, opportunities have been wasted to win  matches they should have won.

Captain Khadka is the batting mainstay and the team’s leading run scorer, as well. Of late, Team Nepal’s over dependence on the captain for runs proves how thin the batting is.

For the most part, the skipper has come under increasing pressure to play big innings whenever he is looked upon for runs.

Experienced Vice- captain Gyanendra Malla has been mightily struggling for runs and the young brigade have not lived up to their expectations.

Despite presence of batting coach, we are yet to see  desired improvement in batsmen performance.

The coach is well aware of batsmen shortcomings and  causes attributing to their inability to play big knocks consistently.

Everyone knows,it  is a bit of everything  like,poor scouting network,docile home pitches, technical flaws, lack of mental toughness,inadequate international exposure and many more.

On top of that, lack of proper domestic structure,  , negligible infrastructure and playing facilities, inadequate funds and a  politicized Cricket Association of Nepal have made matters worse.

In future, Nepal will face much more formidable opponents, and they will need a  vastly improved batting line-up to make a fight of it.

The dearth of quality batsmen needs to  be addressed by the responsible party. Else batting  woes will continue to hinder team’s progress.It will be a huge mistake to deny aspiring batsmen,primarily selected on their batting potential adequate playing time.

They must be  given enough opportunities and exposure to the grind of international cricket to prove themselves. The bowling department might not be an immediate concern for now, but quality fast bowlers are in  short supply,thereby putting team to a disadvantage position.

Nepal  goes into the upcoming Asia Cup Qualifiers in Malaysia  as one of the favorites.Without a doubt, the stakes are high  for the team.There is no room for complacency, and what they will need is a solid, consistent batting and fielding  performance to get the desired result.