Nepal expected to face tough fight in USNepal will open their US Triangular Series of the League 2 against Oman on Thursday before facing the hosts on Saturday.
Visiting Nepal are expected to face a tough fight when they vie against hosts US and leaders Oman in the upcoming US Triangular Series of the ICC World Cup League 2 beginning on Wednesday at the Moosa ground in Pearland, Texas.
Nepal will take on Oman in their first match of the Series on Thursday, a day after the US and Oman will vie in the curtain raiser. The US and Nepal will play on Saturday. Nepal will play Oman in the second leg on June 14 and the US on June 15.
Host US will have the advantage of familiar home conditions while Oman, who lead the standings, will be high on confidence coming into the tournament and playing their last Series of the League 2 cycle. Nepal arrived in Texas on May 29 and underwent a week-long training camp.
Nepal have played 12 games, the lowest number of games by any of the seven teams of the Series. Oman have already played 32 games and are on top of the table at 40 points. The tournament that began in 2019 was hard hit by Covid-19 pandemic forcing postponement of many of the fixtures resulting in an imbalance in the number of the games played between different sides. All teams are scheduled to play 36 games at the completion of the League 2 cycle.
Nepal are sixth in the standings with 12 points from as many games and the US fourth at 18 points from 20 games. Scotland are second at 28 points from 20 games, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) third at 26 points from 22 games, Namibia fifth at 14 points from as many games and PNG seventh at two points from 20 games.
The top three teams at the end of the Series will directly qualify for the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers in June and July 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.
Nepal have a 50 percent winning record in the tournament and are aiming to make improvement on that. The hot weather, humidity and unfamiliar pitch conditions will be the major challenges for the visiting side. In case if all matches of the Series do not finish by February 2023, the ranking is likely to be determined by winning proportion.
“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) and make improvements on winning record,” said Nepal's coach Pubudu Dassanayake, who led the US team in the same capacity from 2016 to 2019.
“I am not worried about our ODI status as we can maintain that,” he added. “But moving into the right direction and 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 and Oman have so far played four matches in the League 2. Nepal have lost three and won one among them. In the four matches against the US, Nepal have won three and lost one.
The US meanwhile had hosted Scotland and UAE in another series from May 28 to June 4 at the Moosa ground. Among the four matches, the US had won two and lost as many. They had won and lost one game each against both opponents.