Nepal expecting tough Dutch challengeNepal will look to kick start their journey as a One Day International (ODI) nation with a victory when the team takes on hosts Netherlands in the first of the two-match bilateral series in Amstelveen on Wednesday.
Nepal will look to kick start their journey as a One Day International (ODI) nation with a victory when the team takes on hosts Netherlands in the first of the two-match bilateral series in Amstelveen on Wednesday.
A little over 22 years after beginning their journey in world cricket through the 1996 ACC Trophy, Wednesday’s match at the VRA Grounds will put Nepal in the game’s global map as the elites who now have the license to enjoy what could be a taste of real cricket. And the familiar foes Netherlands are going to be Nepal’s first hurdle to pass.
“We have been playing pretty competitive cricket for the last couple of years and this is another beginning for us. Whether we play in Kathmandu or in Amsterdam, we always have to play good cricket and we have to do the same against the Netherlands here,” said national team skipper Paras Khadka on the eve of the match.
Netherlands are one of the most familiar opponents for Nepal with the teams frequently playing against each other, the last being the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March. The Dutch side had won the match by 45 runs but that hardly mattered Nepal as the team had already secured ODI status after they were certain to finish inside the top eight spot.
Nepal have defeated Netherlands only twice, the first being the 2014 ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia. Nepal’s only other victory over the Dutch was two years ago which also came at the VRA grounds during the 2016 ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) away match.
The VRA grounds itself is very familiar venue for Nepal. The familiarity with VRA grounds during the two WCLC matches will be expected to help Nepal go victory against the hosts whose cricket is now in a transition following the retirement of their skipper Peter Borren.
Led by new captain Peter Seelar, the Dutch side consists of three young faces and will be missing experienced Ryan ten Doeschate and Roelof van der Merwe due to their county commitments. The absence of two key players might benefit Nepal but Nepal skipper do not want his side to get complacent. “They are still a very strong team even without some of their key players. They batted really well against us at the Lord’s and we know that its going to be very tough encounter,” added Khadka.
The match will remarkable for national team coach Jagat Tamatta who now holds a distinct record in Nepali cricket. Tamatta was part of the Nepali team that played its first international tournament in the 1996 ACC Trophy. And he was overwhelmed to become a coach to guide Nepal in their first ever ODI experience.
“I am really excited. It has been a really long journey. Nepali cricket went through a lots of ups and downs during this period. The boys have put in a lot of hard work and we are really looking forward to have a good game,” said Tamatta.