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An Autopsy: Assessing Nepal’s chances of qualifying for the final of Asia Cup Qualifiers

Sakush K.C.
Administrator
Nepal Cricket Team
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After starting the Asia Cup Qualifiers with two consecutive defeats to Oman and UAE, a spot in the final for Nepal was always an uphill task. However, heading to the final round of matches of the group stage, Nepal’s chance of qualifying for the final is mathematically still alive but realistically on life support!

Latest League Standings

Nepal need major favor from Oman to pip UAE for the 2nd spot. Should UAE win against Oman or even if the match gets washed out, Nepal is eliminated from the tournament.Nepal currently occupy the 4th spot. Inability to chase Singapore’s 151 briskly today did not do any favors in improving their Net Run Rate. Had they chased the target in around 17 overs, their NRR would have been a healthier +0.53. It was baffling to see the most attacking set of batsmen not being selected when it was evident that the match was going to be ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ encounter.

On paper, Nepal can still overtake UAE and Hong Kong for the 2nd spot. In reality, it is another matter altogether.

  • Nepal bat first v Hong Kong; Oman bat first v UAE

If both Nepal and Oman bat first and score 300. In reply, Nepal should bowl out Hong Kong for 175 or less and Oman should bowl out UAE for 175 at most. If this takes place, Nepal will leapfrog UAE’s NRR.

Only one team has gone past 300 so far in the tourney: UAE scored 312 against lowly Singapore. Hence, Oman scoring 300 against the bowler of UAE seems unlikely. Similarly, the batsmen of Nepal are yet to click. The top order has bothered Nepal throughout the tournament, so Nepal scoring 300 against Hong Kong also seems unlikely.

If both Nepal and Oman bat first and score 250. In reply, Nepal should bowl out Hong Kong for 125 or less and Oman should bowl out UAE for around 125. If this takes place, Nepal will leapfrog UAE’s NRR.

  • Nepal bowl first v Hong Kong; Oman bowl first v UAE

If both Nepal and Oman bowl first in their respective matches and bowl out the opposition for 150, both the teams should chase down the target quickly. Nepal should reach 151 no later than 19.5 overs. Whereas, Oman should reach 151 in 25 overs.

However, why would Oman try to score 151 in 25 overs and risk losing wickets and the match when their qualification is not yet secured? As a Hong Kong win over Nepal and a defeat against UAE may eliminate them, Oman will look out to score normally and take sweet time to chase the target. Hence, the Nepal chances may be as good as over as soon as Oman bowls first against UAE.

Team Totals

Nepal Results

Nepal 221/9 (50 overs) v Oman 224/3 (48 overs)

United Arab Emirates 254/9 (50 overs) v Nepal 176 (48.5 overs)

Nepal 188/7 (30 overs) v Malaysia 169/9 (30 overs)

Singapore 151 (42 overs) v Nepal 152/6 (28.1 overs)

When bowling first, Nepal restrict opposition for 203 on average.

Hong Kong Results

Hong Kong 161 (46.4 overs) v Malaysia 162/7 (42.5 overs)

Singapore 150 (41.2 overs) v Hong Kong 154/5 (34.2 overs)

Hong Kong 275/8 (49 overs) v United Arab Emirates 93 (24.5 overs)

Oman 183 (50 overs) v Hong Kong 25/0 (5 overs) (No Result)
Hong Kong average 218 when batting first; when bowling first, bowls out opposition for 167

United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates 312/8 (49 overs) v Singapore 97 (25.4 overs)

United Arab Emirates 254/9 (50 overs) v Nepal 176 (48.5 overs)

Hong Kong 275/8 (49 overs) v United Arab Emirates 93 (24.5 overs)

Malaysia 92 (31.1 overs) v United Arab Emirates 93/2 (8.1 overs)

UAE average 283 when batting first; when bowling first, restrict opposition for 184 on average

Oman Results

Nepal 221/9 (50 overs) v Oman 224/3 (48 overs)

Malaysia 198/8 (50 overs) v Oman 199/8 (49.2 overs)

Singapore 215/8 (50 overs) v Oman 216/2 (26.4 overs)

Oman 183 (50 overs) v Hong Kong 25/0 (5 overs) (No Result)

When bowling first, Oman restrict opposition for 211 on average.

Ground

Nepal will face Hong Kong at UKM Oval. Scores of matches held in the ground:

1st innings 2nd innings
312/8 (49 overs) 97 (25.4 overs)
198/8 (50 overs) 199/8 (49.2 overs)
275/8 (49 overs) 93 (24.5 overs)
151 (42 overs) 152/6 (28.1 overs)

Teams batting first are averaging 234 at this ground in the tourney. Teams batting 2nd have twice chased the target. Nepal bowled out Singapore for 151 in this very ground today. They will need to replicate similar performance against Hong Kong, a better batting side to have any chance of qualifying.

Oman play UAE at Bayuemas Oval. Scores of matches held in the ground:

1st innings 2nd innings
221/9 (50 overs) 224/3 (48 overs)
150 (41.2 overs) 154/5 (34.2 overs)
188/7 (30 overs) 169/9 (30 overs)
92 (31.1 overs) 93/2 (8.1 overs)

Teams batting first are averaging 163 at this ground in the tourney. Expecting Oman to score 300 or chase down 150 in 25 overs against the UAE is asking too much against a bowling attack which has picked 38 out of the possible 40 wickets.

Although Nepal is mathematically alive, the door is not open wide enough for the team to get through to the final of Asia Cup Qualifiers. Poor performance in the first two matches, slow batting in the win against lowly Singapore and inability to take crunch selection decisions has left Nepal needing two miracles to take place at the same time!


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