February’s Recap : Five Points

February’s Recap : Five Points

Nepal concluded a month filled with cricketing actions with the defeat against the Netherlands in the final of the T20I tri-series. Nepal faced Canada in the preparatory series for the WCL 2, followed by the WCL 2 encounters against Namibia and the Netherlands and the T20I tri-series involving the same teams. Five points we noticed during Nepal’s home cricketing month :

 

  • Nepal Cricket: A better administration?

Ever since Nepal’s ascendence to world cricket began in the early 2010s, Nepal cricket had been crying for the better administration of cricketing matters. After years of turmoil which resulted in the Cricket Association of Nepal getting suspended by ICC, Nepal Cricket seems to have finally got the administration that prioritizes cricket’s development in the nation. A cricketing calendar was set for the first time in the nation’s history, and multiple preparatory tours for the T20I World Cup in June were announced. A much improved annual central contract was awarded to both men’s and women’s players.

 

  • Namibia: The most settled associate side?

Namibia leaves Nepal with the happiest among the three sides. Namibia is co-hosting the 2027 ODI World Cup and after a period of T20 cricket focus, the attention shifts to the ODI format 

Namibia won three out of four WCL 2 encounters and defeated the in-form home side Nepal twice. While the other two teams struggled to find the working combinations in the ODI side, Namibia looked very settled with senior players leading from the front and the young players contributing immensely.

Namibia’s ODI side is built around all-rounder captain Gerhard Erasmus. Erasmus is responsible for scoring runs in the middle overs and acting as the secondary spinner to Bernard Scholtz. Experienced pacer Ruben Trumpelmann and U-19 World Cup star Jack Brasell lead the pace attack. Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton is the vital cog as the allrounder in the middle order and the top-order batters are led by Michal Van Lingen. Loftie-Eaton broke the record of the fastest-ever T20I century against Nepal. 

Namibia has an idea of what the team’s ideal playing XI should look like. Namibia looks well-prepared for its third World Cup participation in a row.

 

  • Nepal’s death over bowling: A concern heading into the World Cup

For the most part of the next few years, Nepal will be focusing on the T20I format. Nepal will participate in the 2024 T20I World Cup and will look to qualify for another Asia Cup through the ACC Premier Cup. Another T20 World Cup is set to be held in 2026, followed by the historic inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Important tournaments are lined up for Nepal that could shape Nepal’s long-term status in the cricketing world. However, the T20I tri-series exposed Nepal’s flaws in the death over bowling. 

Namibia smashed 73 runs in the last five overs against Nepal in the first T20I. The death over bowling had received heat after performances against UAE in the previous WCL 2 cycle, Oman in the T20I World Cup qualifiers, and Pakistan in the Asia Cup and has been a glaring weakness in an otherwise relatively consistent Nepali bowling attack.

With the death over being the most important phase of the T20 format, Nepal needs to sort out the problem. The team needs to identify the proper personnel who can stand the pressure of the final phases as well as prepare and execute the plan to perfection. Nepali death over bowling needs to curb the run flow when the momentum is against them and mop up the batting order when the situation is right.

 

  • Nepal A: Start of something beautiful

For the first time in Nepal’s history, Nepal ‘A’ has been formed as a proper stepping stone for the youngsters to the national team. While Nepal ‘A’ had made sporadic appearances in the international cricket scene, this is the first instance where Nepal’s second-string team has come into existence with a long-term plan. Few series have been allocated for the team in the country’s cricketing calendar with the series against Ireland Wolves commencing in March. 

The formation of Nepal ‘A’ massively improves Nepal’s pool of cricketers. Nepal ‘A’ is the missing puzzle between the senior National Team and the country’s premier domestic competitions. The younger players can taste the water of international cricket with Nepal ‘A’ and be better prepared to face international cricket when the senior team comes calling.

 

  • Away Challenge

For most of Nepal’s historic run last year, Nepal played most of its matches at home. The advantage of the home conditions is often the deciding factor between the teams. Nepal made massive leaps in international cricket in the last year. Nepal’s captain as well as the coach have been vocal about Nepal’s aspiration of being the best among the associates within in few years.

The away matches will be Nepal’s ultimate tests, tests that will determine the result of Nepal’s pursuit of gaining full membership. 

The ACC Premier Cup will be held in Oman and Nepal will have to win the competition to make it to Asia Cup again. The qualifiers for the 2026 T20 World Cup will most probably be held outside Nepal and Nepal will have to compete in four away WCL 2 tri-series before the next home tri-series.

It is important to build on the momentum the team has built in the last year or so. Nepal has to be a regular in major international competitions like the World Cup and the Asia Cup to race ahead of the other associates. It took Nepal 10 years to qualify again for the T20 World Cup after 2014 World T20 participation. Nepal failed to build on that momentum and competed among top and mid-level associate teams. Nepal can’t afford to miss any of the major tournaments if it is to realize its goal of being the best associate side. 

 

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