Nepal faces the Netherlands in crucial ICC T20 World Cup clash

Nepal faces the Netherlands in crucial ICC T20 World Cup clash

Nepal and the Netherlands are set to face off in a pivotal Group D match at the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 in Dallas, USA. The game, scheduled for 9:15 pm Nepali time at Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium, is crucial for Nepal's Super-8 aspirations. This match follows South Africa's six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the group's opening game.

The history between these two teams is rich and evenly matched. In T20I encounters, Nepal has won 5 matches, lost 6, and had one no-result out of 12 games. Interestingly, 3 of Nepal's 5 victories were on home soil at TU ground.

Their rivalry dates back to July 2015 when Nepal toured the Netherlands for a four-match T20I series. Nepal lost the first three matches but clinched the fourth by 3 wickets, thanks to Paras Khadka's half-century. A 2018 match at Lord's was abandoned due to rain. In subsequent years, they exchanged victories in various tournaments, including Nepal's 9-wicket win and a crushing defeat to the Netherlands in a 2021 triangular series.

Most recently, in March 2024, they competed in another triangular series at TU. The Netherlands won the first match by 2 runs and the final by 4 wickets, chasing down Nepal's 185 in 19.3 overs. However, Nepal also secured a 6-wicket win after bowling out the Dutch for 120.

For today's match, Nepal's strategy hinges on their batting performance. In a warm-up game against Canada, they were all out for 120 chasing 184. The team is banking on Dipendra Singh Airi, their top all-rounder, along with openers Kushal Bhurtel and Asif Shaikh, despite their recent poor form. Anil Kumar Shah might play at number three due to the openers' struggles.

In bowling, Nepal faces challenges in death overs. Abhinash Bohra, their main death-over specialist, carries extra responsibility. The team's plan is to dismiss Netherlands' explosive batsmen, Michael Levitt and Max O'Dowd, early to gain control.

The Netherlands, buoyed by their 20-run victory over Sri Lanka in a warm-up match, rely heavily on Levitt, O'Dowd, and Bas de Liede. Their middle order features Scott Edwards, Teja Ninamaniru, and Cybrand Engelbrecht. While their spin attack is relatively weak, fast bowlers Paul van Marken, de Liede, and Kyle Keelin are expected to play.

Nepal's captain, Rohit Paudel, emphasizes the significance of this World Cup appearance after a decade-long wait. Netherlands coach Ryan Cook acknowledges Nepal's current strength, stating, "I think every game in the World Cup is a big game. Nepal has also played good cricket recently."

As both teams gear up for this critical match, their past encounters and current forms suggest an exciting, closely contested game at Grand Prairie.

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