BANGALORE, Dec 6: Nepal continued its losing streak in the T20 World Cup for the Blind as it faced nine wickets defeat at the hands of Australia on Thursday at Aditya Global Sports Ground, Nelamangal, Bangalore.
Nepal won the toss for the fourth time in a row and opted to bat first for the first time. The decision to bat first went against them as they were restricted to 132 runs off 20 overs for the loss of seven wickets.
Australia successfully chased the target of 133 runs for the loss of a wicket in 15.1 overs.
Nepali coach Ganga Prasad Poudel said insufficient practice was the cause of their defeat. “We had performed well against Pakistan in our previous tour but the practice for the World Cup was not enough.”
Nepal had a bad start as opener and captain Jay Sagar Giri was sent back to the pavilion in the very first ball of the innings on duck. With the fall of the skipper, Nepali squad lost its momentum and continued to give away its wickets. Opener Khima Nanda Gaire was short of the crease on 13 runs.
Ram Prasad Poudel, who replaced skipper Giri, stayed on the crease throughout the game and was unbeaten for 37 runs but his partners could not save their wickets.
Surya Prasad Bhattarai (19), vice-captain Bikram Bahadur Rana (8), Jeevan Tamang (0), Shankar Regmi (5) and Durga Dutta Poudel (2) were the other Nepali batsmen sent back to the pavilion cheaply. Rajendra Dhital was not out on the crease without scoring a run. Peter Robin of Australia was the successful bowler as he grabbed four wickets conceding six runs in his four overs spell. David Gauci and Daniel Searla shared a wicket each.
Nepali bowlers were not up to the mark in bowling as they continued to give runs instead of taking wickets. Opener Matt McCarthy was unbeaten for 56 runs but Nepali bowlers succeeded in sending back another opener Meberley Cory, who was short of the crease as Gaire sent him back to the pavilion for 11 runs. Michel Zanih was unbeaten for 36 runs.
Players and officials of the Nepali team lashed out at the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), saying that their poor form owed much to the negative role played by the cricket´s governing body of Nepal. They said that they continued to face defeats because CAN did not allow them to practice on the regular pitch.
“We could not practice on the regular pitch prior to the tournament as CAN did not allow us. The tournament we were participating was World Cup and not a child´s cricket.”
The players said CAN did not show any respect to the blind cricketers when they were gearing up for their World Cup debut. “If we had practiced on the regular pitch for some time we could have played well and won the matches.”
Coach Poudel added that the major problem of the squad was that the players were not able to run between the wickets. “We have running problems but we are working on it and hope to win the next match,” said the coach, adding, “If we had practiced on the real pitch for a longer time, we could have overcome such problems.”
President of Nepal Blind Cricket Association Pawan Ghimire said the loss of regular captain Kirtan Shrestha was a big blow for the squad. “We lost our regular captain and our in-form batsman and bowler Bikram Bahadur Rana is out of form,” he said.
Ghimire further added that the experienced players failed to perform well and the new players are only gaining experience.
Journalist Ghimire contributes Republica from Bangalore.