Nepal and the USA have been a close rival since 2008 World Cricket League Division Five. Meeting several times during the different divisions of the World Cricket League cycle, these two teams are no new to each other. After 10 years of their last meet at Nepal’s home soil, things have changed much in 2020, might that be in terms of the level of cricket they play or the fan culture in Nepal that used to be more riotic back in 2010.
As the most anticipated tournament, the ICC Cricket World Cup League Two rolled on to Nepal’s soil, Nepal could not check the loss against Oman at the tournament openers where 8 to 10 thousands of spectators visited the ground to support the hosts. The confident Oman side on the following day, produced a victory against the USA, marching forward to second place at the CWCL2 table. So, Nepal and the USA, both having lost their first match against Oman, will face each other in the third match of the Tri-Series on Saturday at TU International Ground.
Heading into this contest, the USA captained by Saurabh Netravalkar have a formidable squad to play against Nepal sides while the hosts are likely to miss their experienced batsman Sharad Vesawkar due to back injury. This may allow Subash Khakurel to join the Nepal side who has the best track record against the top sides USA in several occasions he has played. Nepal might see their former captain Paras stepping down the order at 3, if Subash Khakurel has to make a return to the playing XI in the absence of Sharad Veshawkar.
Captain Gyanendra Malla will be expected to give a fine start to Nepal while it’s again going to be that one man Paras Khadka who will be expected to lead the batting department of the host sides. Dipendra Singh Airee, has always been a dependable batsman at the middle order while Aarif Sheikh and Rohit Paudel will be expected to take the innings forward unlike against Oman. However, Nepal side will have ‘spin’ as their major asset against USA with the likes of star leggie Sandeep Lamichhane and early ODI debutant Sushan Bhari who picked up 3 wickets against Oman. Karan KC undoubtedly will lead the medium pace attack but it will be engrossing to see if Nepal sides bring in medium pacer Kamal Singh Airee to elongate the batting line up in place of Avinash Bohara.
However, the USA sides have a decent batting line up with the likes of top performers Aaron Jones, Monank Patel and experienced Steven Taylor. Taylor’s vice captaincy had been axed lately for his disciplinary actions just before the Nepal tour. The performance of wicketkeeper batsman Akshay Homraj and allrounder Ian Holland, who received their ODI caps back in December might add some extra stress to the hosts’ bowling sides during the play.
It has mostly been the bowling department, USA have dependent for their team to win. Analysing their bowling department, it’s going to be the captain himself to lead the attack. Saurabh Netravalkar has been phenomenal in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup League Two picking up 13 wickets in 9 matches along with a 5-for against UAE last December. His consistency with his economy and wickets will be crucial for the USA side as he will be joined by other wicket taking bowlers Rusty Theron, Karima Gore and Timil Patel. Bowling has been the major strength for the USA side and it will be no wonder if they manage to pull out their match from the host side with enough guns on their bowling arsenal.
NEPAL Squad: Gyanendra Malla (captain), Dipendra Singh Airee (vice-captain), Paras Khadka, Sandeep Lamichhane, Karan KC, Md. Aarif Sheikh, Binod Bhandari, Avinash Bohara, Kushal Malla, Kamal Singh Airee, Sushan Bhari, Rohit Kumar Paudel, Sharad Vesawkar (injured), Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi
USA Squad: Saurabh Netravalkar (captain), Steven Taylor, Ian Holland, Akshay Homraj, Elmore Hutchinson, Aaron Jones, Noshthus Konjige, Xavier Marshall, Monank Patel, Nisarg Patel, Timil Patel, Rusty Theron, Cameron Stevenson
WHEN AND WHERE:
8th February 2020, Saturday, 10 AM onwards
At TU International Ground, Kirtipur, Kathmandu
Live on Kantipur TV and Willow TV
WEATHER CONDITIONS :
The weather is forecasted to be partly cloudy with temperature to reach 14 degree celcius at day. No rain is predicted during the match.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal)
Paras Khadka Nepal (Nepal)
Steven Taylor (USA)
Saurabh Netravalkar (USA)