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ICC World Cup Qualifiers: For Nepal, tournament now about staying in Division I

Watching Nepal play in the World Cup is every Nepali fan’s dream. But that dream has ended after the Rhinos lost to Afghanistan by six wickets on Saturday at Bulawayo.

With the loss, it is almost certain that Nepal won’t make it to the Super Six, and even if they do make it through (a theoretical possibility remains), they carry over 0 points from the group stage–that won’t be enough to get them to the World Cup. If Nepal end up in 7th or 8th place in the tournament, they are relegated to Division 2.

Here’s how things stand ahead of the Group B matchup between Hong Kong and Nepal on Monday: Afghanistan and HK are joint third in the table with two points each, but the Afghans have a better run rate than Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong still have a game in hand.

Here are the likely scenarios:

1.

Nepal beat Hong Kong

If Nepal beat Hong Kong, they get two points. Then, Afghanistan, Nepal and Hong Kong share the third spot in the table and the team with the best run rate goes through to the Super Six stage. If Nepal beat Hong Kong by a huge (unprecedented) margin, then Nepal go through to the Super Sixes. If Nepal bat first, they need to score more than 300 and bowl Hong Kong out for less than 80 runs.

If Nepal score around 250/260, they would have to bowl Hong Kong out for 30-35 runs.

But what if Nepal bowl first? If Nepal bowl first, the chances look even slimmer. If Nepal bowl HK out for around a 100-150 they have to chase down the runs in 2-3 overs. Nepal’s safest bet is: to win the toss, bat first and get around 350-380 on the board and give themselves a fighting chance to bowl Hong Kong out for around 120.

If Nepal beat Hong Kong and the margin is not big enough to see them through to the Super Sixes, Afghanistan secure a place in the second round of the tournament. Nepal and Hong Kong then head to the seventh/eighth place play0ffs.

2.

Hong Kong beat Nepal

If Hong Kong beat Nepal, they qualify for the second round of the tournament. Nepal and Afghanistan then head to the seventh/eighth place qualifier.

3.

Dutch beat West Indies, Ireland beat UAE

Meanwhile in Group A, if the Netherlands beat the West Indies and Ireland beat the UAE with a margin of 80 or more runs, then Netherlands will qualify the next round by leapfrogging the UAE.

The best scenario for Nepal

As Nepal’s hopes of reaching the second stage of the tournament look unreal, the next best thing for the side would be to get the ODI status and play the World Cricket League Championship, a tournament designed by the ICC for Associate countries with ODI status. According to the ICC, top three of the five Associates (except the Netherlands, who already have ODI status regardless the result of the tournament) playing the tournament get ODI status.

It is certain that Scotland will finish the tournament as the top Associate. If UAE and Hong Kong reach the second round, they will claim the second and the third spots. In such a scenario, Nepal and PNG will be relegated to Division II.

But if both Hong Kong and the UAE do not make it to the second round, two of the three ODI spots will be decided in the playoffs and Nepal would have a better chance of avoiding relegation.

Theoretically, any one of the three teams could qualify for the Super Six stage of the tournament. Nepal hope against hope that they beat Hong Kong, Ireland beat the UAE and the Netherlands beat the West Indies on Monday. That would be the most favourable situation for Nepal as the contest for two ODI spots will be decided in the playoffs.


Published on March 11th, Sunday, 2018 2:47 PM


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