Afghanistan U-19 has been head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in the ongoing ICC Under-19 World Cup Asia Qualifiers. They have dismantled sides for less than 60 runs 3 times and have scored briskly while batting. As a result their NRR is way ahead of Nepal heading to the last match of the tournament tomorrow.
For Nepal to qualify, they should defeat Afghanistan by a mammoth margin in order to improve their NRR and at the same time reduce Afghanistan’s NRR. Although mathematically possible, Nepal’s chances of qualification look as good as over.
Conditions Bowling First
Afghanistan’s NRR is so far ahead that we are forced to use highly unrealistic scores to assess Nepal’s chances of qualifying. Even if Nepal bowls out Afghanistan for 50 runs and in reply chases the target scoring 56 runs in 2 overs, Afghanistan qualify on a superior NRR. The case is no different if Afghanistan are bowled out for 70 and Nepal scores 76 in 3 overs or if Afghanistan is bowled out for 100 and Nepal chases scoring 106 in 4 overs. Scoring 56 runs in 2 overs is scoring at 28 runs per over! Similarly scoring 76 runs in 3 overs is at 25.33 runs per over and scoring 106 runs in 4 overs is 26.5 at runs per over. In other words, Nepal fails to qualify even if Nepal dismisses Afghanistan cheaply and bats kamikaze scoring a boundary every ball. And from what we have seen, Nepal chased 73 against Singapore in 17.3 overs losing 6 wickets, 58 against Malaysia in 9.5 overs losing 5 wickets and 89 against Singapore in 22.2 overs losing 5 wickets.
Conditions Batting First
The condition is no different batting first. Even if Nepal bat first and score 300 and in reply bowl out Afghanistan for 30 runs, Afghanistan qualify on superior NRR. However, if Nepal is somehow able to score 350 and bowl out Afghanistan for 50, Nepal is able to sneak ahead on NRR. But most importantly it is worth noting Nepal was bowled out for 49 by Afghanistan earlier in the tournament. Also another point worth noting is Nepal batted first once once in the entire tournament and was bowled out for 168 by Singapore, a much weaker bowling unit that one possessed by Afghanistan.
By the look of how things are poised, it is hoping against hope expecting Nepal to qualify for the ICC U-19 World Cup 2018. Although the conditions may have played a part, it was baffling to see Nepal win the toss against Singapore in the return leg of the league and elect to bat first. Nepal had just suffered a big defeat against Afghanistan after which the NRR decreased from +3.739 to + 0.278 and were looking to bounce back. Although Nepal did win that match, they were unable to improve NRR significantly (NRR increased from +0.278 to +0.453). Statistically it looks all over for Nepal but the team should try to end the tournament on high with a strong showing against Afghanistan, the strongest and most well balanced side of the tournament.