Matches against UAE an exposure for Div 2: Skipper Khadka
December 6, 2017 09:53 AM
KATHMANDU, Dec 5: Nepal national cricket team skipper Paras Khadka has said that with Division 2 already in sight for the team, the matches against United Arab Emirates (UAE) in ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) this week would provide the team with a good exposure.
Nepal is facing home team UAE in the first leg match of the last round of WCLC on Wednesday at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, and the second leg match two days later at the same venue.
“We are already looking towards the Division 2 so these two matches against UAE are going to be great exposure for my team which is full of young players,” said skipper Khadka during an interview with ESPN cricinfo ahead of the encounter against UAE.
Nepal is already relegated to Division 2 following the failure of securing its place in the top four of WCLC. Now the Nepali side will compete against Canada, Oman, Namibia, and the UAE along with another relegated team from the WCLC in Division 2 to be held in Namibia next February.
Since only top two teams from Division 2 will secure their berths in ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, a gateway to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Khadka said the competition will not be easy.
“Division 2 will be like a royal rumble (biggest event in WWE wrestling) where every team will give their best in order to seal their places in world cup qualifiers. So, we will have to give our best in Namibia,” added Khadka.
He was optimistic of young players doing well against the UAE. “We don’t get warm-up matches ahead of international clashes but this time we got an opportunity to play against the United States and Kenya. Hopefully, young players will be able to do well as we are preparing them for Division 2,” further added Khadka.
Meanwhile, the matches between Nepal and UAE will not have any significance following their relegation to Division 2. Nepal and the UAE are in the sixth and eighth places with nine and six points respectively acquired from 12 matches each. They will meet in the second leg match on Friday at the same venue.
Meanwhile, Netherlands and Papua New Guinea (PNG) have already cemented their places in the World Cup Qualifiers with 18 and 16 points respectively.
There are two places remaining for the qualifiers, with three nations including Scotland, Hong Kong and Kenya closely contesting. Scotland (15), Hong Kong (14) and Kenya (12) are in the third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
All the matches of the last round are being played in the UAE, with Kenya and Scotland competing at Dubai International Stadium (Dubai), while already qualified Dutch team will take on the last placed Namibia at ICC Academy Oval (Dubai).
Similarly, Hong Kong will face already qualified PNG at ICC Academy ground (Dubai) with a target of victory as acquiring two points from the match will strengthen its qualification hope.
The encounter between Nepal and UAE will be a matter of pride for both teams.
Nepal is coming to the WCLC first leg match having played two practice matches against the United States and Kenya while the UAE faced Afghanistan in ICC Intercontinental Cup on Saturday.
Nepal produced mixed results in the practice matches as it lost to the US by five-wicket on Friday and defeated Kenya by six-wicket two days later.
The UAE suffered a 10-wicket loss to Afghanistan in its final match of the intercontinental cup.
Nepali team’s key players - captain Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, Binod Bhandari, Basant Regmi and Sompal Kami - were rested in the practice matches so they will be ready for the encounter against home side.
The last meeting between Nepal and the UAE was in May 2014, during an ACC Premier League match in Malaysia where Nepal produced a four-wicket win. However, in January of the same year, Nepal had suffered 102-run defeat to UAE in ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.