Nepal Struggles in Opening Match Against Netherlands at ICC T20 World Cup

Nepal Struggles in Opening Match Against Netherlands at ICC T20 World Cup
Image : Matt Roberts Via Cricket Association of Nepal-CAN

After a 10-year absence, Nepal's return to the ICC T20 World Cup was highly anticipated, but their opening match against the Netherlands at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in the U.S. ended in disappointment. Despite overwhelming support from Nepali fans who filled the stadium, the team's long-standing weakness in batting on foreign soil persisted.

Invited to bat first after losing the toss, Nepal's openers, Kushal Bhurtel and Asif Shaikh, failed to deliver, setting a poor tone for the innings. The team struggled throughout their power play, scoring only 29 runs for the loss of two wickets in 6 overs, with 27 dot balls out of 36. This slow start put immense pressure on the subsequent batsmen.

Captain Rohit Poudel's 35 runs were the highest individual score, but the lack of substantial partnerships and an inability to rotate the strike led to Nepal being bowled out for a modest total. The team played a staggering 65 dot balls out of 116, severely limiting their scoring opportunities.

Nepal's bowling unit showed promise, with Sompal Kami taking key wickets, but the low total proved insufficient. The Netherlands, led by Max O'Dowd's 40 runs, chased down the target comfortably.

After the match, Sompal Kami reflected on the team's performance: "As a player, even if the team has 10/20 runs, they will fight for it. It does not determine how many goals we have given. How to win the second inning after losing the first inning was a challenge." Despite the setback, he remains optimistic: "We did well in the bowling unit. Could have done better. When the target was small, we could not try anything else. Hopefully we will make a good comeback in the next game."

Kami also commented on Nepal's batting struggles: "In the beginning, when there is no run, the batter did not play openly. A batsman gets confidence when he gets boundaries and runs. Although some of our batsmen played well, they also bowled very well."

Image : Matt Roberts Via Cricket Association of Nepal-CAN

Cricket analyst Ravi Timilsina attributed Nepal's poor performance to the unfamiliar pitch conditions, exacerbated by rain, and the pressure of playing in their first World Cup. Looking ahead, Nepal faces Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Bangladesh in their upcoming matches, with hopes of making a stronger comeback.

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