Next two Series key for shaping Nepali cricket’s futureNepal national cricket team are aiming to finish the League 2 cycle in top-three spot to secure an automatic berth for 2023 World Cup Qualifiers.
Nepal national cricket team are at a crucial juncture and the next two Series of the ICC World Cricket League 2 will play a key role in shaping the future of the team. Be it retaining One-Day International (ODI) status or securing automatic berth for the 2023 ODI World Cup Qualifiers.
But the major concern for Nepal’s Canadian mentor Pubudu Dassanayake is earning a direct berth for World Cup Qualifiers as only top three teams at the end of the League 2 cycle will get the ticket.
“I am not worried about our ODI status as we can maintain that,” said Dassanaayke. “But moving into the right direction for securing top three positions is a major concern at the moment. It is just about which position we are going to finish the series.”
Nepal take on the US and Oman in the US Triangular Series of the League 2 scheduled from June 8 to June 16 in Houston. Nepal will also play the Scotland Triangular Series involving Scotland and Namibia from July 10 to July 17. Nepal will play eight matches—two games against each opponent—in the period of around next one month in the Series.
Nepal are currently sixth in the seven-team standings that also feature the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Papua New Guinea. But Nepal have played only 12 matches, the lowest number of games by any of the seven teams. Each team will play 36 games at the completion of the League Two cycle. Nepal will also host two home Series including the last one in February next year.
The top three teams at the end of the Series will directly qualify for the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers and top five teams will retain the ODI status. The bottom four will have to go through a playoff involving six teams for a place in Qualifiers.
It will be the last Series for leaders Oman, who have played 32 matches and sit as runaway leaders at 40 points. Scotland are second at 28 points from 20 games. The UAE are third at 26 points from 22 games, the US fourth at 18 points from 20 games, Namibia fifth at 14 points from as many games, and PNG seventh at two points from 20 games.
“We have just a 50 percent winning record coming into the Series and we want to make improvements on that,” Nepal's coach Dassanayake said. “We just have to play our best cricket and if we play to our best, I am sure we are going to win all the games (of the US Series).”
“We will be in the top three. This tour (US Series) and next tour (Scotland Series) will be very important to us. We can climb to fourth or fifth position with positive results and we just need to maintain that. This is the last series for Oman and we just need to make sure that they finish on catching distance on points. The schedules are in such a way that if we play quality cricket we can catch them.”
Dassanayake added, "Having a home Series at the end is a bigger advantage. We could create a base for catching them by good results in the next two Series. It is just about which position we are going to finish the series.”
Dev Khanal, one of the new faces who came in the national set up a couple of months ago, was equally wary about the importance of the US Series. “The upcoming matches are crucial for us and we have been keenly following the results of other games of the Series as well,” Khanal said. “We need to capitalise on opportunities and perform well. Oman and the US are tough opponents and they have been playing good cricket. It is also the last Series for Oman and we are hopeful for good results.”