Nepal chases elusive trophy as it takes on UAE today
KATHMANDU, Oct 12: Nepal is taking on host UAE in the final of the ACC Trophy Elite on Friday at the Sharjah Cricket Ground as it chases an elusive trophy for the third time.
It is the third ACC Trophy Elite final for Nepal and second in a row. However, Nepal is yet to win the title.
Nepal secured the final berth defeating Malaysia by 21 runs in the semifinal on Wednesday while the UAE thrashed Afghanistan by eight wickets.
"We had a good rest today (Thursday), had a pool session to relax and held a team meeting in the evening. We are looking for a good game tomorrow (Friday)," said Nepali team coach Pubudu Dassanayake.
However, Nepali team is concerned over the fitness of two fast bowlers in the team. As Amrit Bhattarai is suffering from chest pain and Binod Das is suffering from knee injury, coach Dassanayake has to pick either spinner Sanjam Regmi or batsman Binod Bhandari for the final match.
"Right now both the fast bowlers are not available for the final but we are trying to see them in the morning. There is only 20 percent hope of their availability," said Dassanayake on Thursday evening. "We´ll inspect the wicket on Friday morning and finalize the players. If we find a spinning wicket, we´ll pick Sanjam (Regmi) otherwise we´ll go for an extra batsman," he added.
Nepal had lost to Afghanistan by 95 runs in the final of last edition of the ACC Trophy held in Kuwait in 2010, when the UAE had crashed out of the tournament from group stage. Nepal is expecting to go one-step better this time and the UAE is expecting to bring back the lost glory.
Nepali team is putting its faith on its batsmen and the spinner for the final as they are doing well in the tournament. Nepali captain Paras Khadka is the leading scorer of the tournament so far. Khadka has scored 260 runs in five matches with an average of 86.66 and strike rate of 109.70. Vice captain Gyanendra Malla is on the fifth position of leading scorer with 180 runs from five matches.
Meanwhile, spinner Shakti Gauchan is the fourth highest wicket taker of the tournament as he had claimed 12 wickets in the tournament. Another spinner Basant Regmi has also claimed 10 wickets in the tournament.
Nepali national team had broken the jinx against the UAE in the opening match of the ongoing tournament and defeated the host by four wickets last week. Earlier, Nepal had encountered the UAE six times in the One-Day format and lost all of them.
The UAE is higher ranked team than Nepal in ICC World Cricket League (WCL). The UAE is currently enjoying WCL Division 2 status and is among the top eight associate nation teams that can play in the World Cricket League Championship, from which top two teams qualify for the upcoming Cricket World Cup.
"We really want to prove that we are a better side than Afghanistan and the UAE. The UAE have good players and they are used to the playing condition. We have defeated UAE in the first match of the tournament. However, tomorrow´s (Friday´s) match would be a different game altogether. It would be a good test for our team as well," said Dassanayke.
Nepal, UAE book place for new ACC competition
Nepal and UAE have booked its place in a new competition involving the A teams of the four Asian Test nations by reaching Friday´s ACC Trophy final.
The top three sides in the trophy competition - plus Singapore as hosts - will enter a 50-over competition scheduled for summer 2013, with the emerging players from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh also set to play.
The ACC Trophy used to carry with it the incentive of a place for the two finalists in the Asia Cup against the full sides from Asia´s Test playing elite. However, the emerging nations have since been squeezed out of that competition because of television scheduling.
"The new competition will still provide a major boost for the likes of the UAE and Nepal," The National, newspaper in the UAE quoted Asian Cricket Council´s events and operations manager Sultan Rana.