After training in the Caribbean, Nepal now heads to the USA

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By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, May 20: Nepal’s World Cup squad is returning to the United States of America after ending almost a week-long training session in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.

The squad had left Nepal for Florida, USA, on May 4. According to the Cricket Association of Nepal, the squad started a training session in Florida Acclimatisation Camp on May 8 before travelling to the Caribbean on May 12.

Nepal then played three T20s against a mixed team of St. Vincent and Windward Islands on May 14, 16 and 18 as a part of World Cup preparation. Of the three T20s, Nepal won the first two matches but lost the third one.

Nepal won the first training match by four wickets after chasing the target of 198 runs. In the second match, Windward Islands were defeated by 49 runs as Nepal defended the target of 180 runs.

Meanwhile, the senior male squad of the host did not allow Nepal a clean sweep as they defeated the travelling side by 67 runs on Saturday. Nepal was unable to chase 206 runs during the 3rd T20.

Fruitful preparation

Nepal’s squad was on a high note while travelling to the USA a month before the T20 World Cup as they had just defeated West Indies ‘A’ twice in a five-match T20 series. Skipper Rohit Kumar Paudel was the only batsman in form for Nepal during the series.

While many were suspecting the form and capabilities of other players for the World Cup, the preparations have shown that the overall squad is improving.

The opening pair has still not been able to give a steady start. However, Kushal Bhurtel has started scoring. After scoring 70 off 42 in the 1st T20 against the Windward Islands, Bhurtel added 25 off 24 in the 2nd, but got out for only eight runs in the 3rd. Yet, he has also taken four wickets with the ball in the series.

Aasif Sheikh has not returned to his calm state; he departed for less than 30 runs in the 1st and 3rd matches while for a duck in the 2nd. Anil Kumar Sah, in at three, has been expected to provide a fiery start for the team when he enters the crease. Sah has the capability, which he showed with a half-century in 27 balls in the 2nd T20, but has not been consistent. 

Skipper Paudel was again on the top as he scored two consecutive half-centuries in the last two matches after getting out for a duck in the 1st. Dipendra Singh Airee has also been performing well with the bat, ball and field.

Meanwhile, Sundeep Jora and Gulshan Kumar Jha seem to have lost their touch with the bat. 

Senior bowlers Karan KC and Sompal Kami have also failed to be economical; however, the new bowlers – Kamal Singh Airee, Pratish GC and Abinash Bohara – are backing them up well.  

Nepal has profited from spinners, but Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi and Sagar Dhakal are not getting enough chances since part-timer spinners have been prioritised. Nevertheless, the possible return of Sandeep Lamichhane is expected to give one confirmed spot to a spinner by the World Cup.

Focus on warm-up

Nepal still has enough preparations and training before the World Cup official match starts. Leaving for Houston, USA, on May 19, the squad will land in the state of Texas on May 20. As per the CAN, Nepal will practice at the PV Ground on May 21 and 24 while having friendly matches against Houston Hurricane on May 22 and 23.

Nepal will then open the warm-up matches of the T20 World Cup by playing against Canada on May 27. The second warm-up match of Nepal is against co-host USA on May 30. Nepal’s first T20 World Cup match is against the Netherlands on June 4.

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