Rain, Nepal favourites in crucial mid-table clash Nepal and Kenya, both in the bottom half of the points table of the WCLC, are looking for two crucial points.

Big Picture

Nepal will take on Kenya  in a mouth watering contest tomorrow at Tribhuwan University Cricket Ground, Kirtipur in the fifth round of WCLC matches. These evenly matched sides, who have served some of the most enthralling matches in associate cricket in last 5 years, are separated by only one spot in WCLC points table. Although Kenya are placed higher in the points table, playing at home, Nepal go into tomorrow’s match as massive favorites.  The fact that Kenya have lost all four of their away games also skews the balance towards Nepal’s side

Two years back, Kenya defeated Nepal in the final league match of WCL Division 2 to push Nepal off the Inter Continental Cup. Nepal will take these two games as opportunities for retribution.

Standing and Results

Kenya are placed 5th in the WCLC points table with 4 wins from 8 matches.  Nepal are placed 6th with 3 wins from 8 matches, including one against top table Netherlands in Netherlands. So far Nepal is the only side to have defeated Netherlands in the tournament.

Kenya W L L W L

Nepal  L W W L W

Players to Watch

Gyanendra Malla, one of associate cricket’s most flamboyant batsman will be the one to watch from Nepal.  During Nepal’s preparation tour to India Malla who was leading the side in Khadka’s absence, scored 104 and 95 runs.  Malla’s street smart fielding is skill that most teams at associate level envy.

Kenyan skipper Rakep Patel  is a dangerous batsman.  He had scored a hundred against Nepal in the World T20 Qualifier 2013 and his batting has only improved after that.  Patel has 231 runs in the WCL Championship the second highest for Kenya in the tournament.  He also won Kenya a match against Hong Kong with is part time off spin taking 5 wickets.

Team News

Paras Khadka had his appendix removed a month back and is not yet declared fit enough to play. A decision will likely be taken by toss tomorrow. If he doesn’t make it, Malla will lead the side. Sunil Damala has had a stellar tour of India opening the innings and will likely open against Kenya too.  Kenya have come to Nepal expecting spin friendly pitches. Left arm spinner Shem Ngoche, Leg Break Pusphak Kerai, and veteran leg break bowler for Kenya Collins Obuyo will all likely play tomorrow hoping to turn the ball and the match away from Nepalese batsman.

Pitch and Conditions

TU is traditionally considered spin friendly track. But whenever likes of Shapoor Zadran, Hamid Hasan have played here, they have got equal help from the track if not more. It will be a test for batsmen, especially for the Kenyans to score runs.

The weather will be pretty gloomy, with rains forecast for all day today and the match day tomorrow.

Quotes

“The main objective, however clichéd, is to win.”          ~Rakep Patel

“We can’t lose points if we want to make it to the top four” ~Paras Khadka

Arun Upreti is a columnist at wicketnepal.com. He is passionate about uncovering unique stories about Nepal Cricket and using obscure Breaking Bad quotes to describe them.