Nepal Vs Kenya: battle for higher ranking

Mehboob Alam will renew his rivalry with Collins Obuya while Prithu Baskota, Pradeep Airee and Krishna Karki could get chance to lock horns with known opponents Rakep Patel and Duncan Allan as Nepal take on Kenya for the seventh place play-off semifinal of the ICC World T20 Qualifiers on Thursday.

Nepali national team has never met Kenya’s national team before. However U-19 teams had played twice against each other and Nepal had won both matches.

In 2000, Nepali team defeated Kenya by 14 runs in the U-19 World Cup to become the only associate country to reach second round of the Youth World Cup.  Alam was man-of-the-match then and had bowled Collins Obuya in the match. Alam and Obuya are in their respective national squad now and the play-off semifinal could give them the opportunity to renew rivalry.

Nepal defeated Kenya by six wickets in the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers held in Ireland last July. Current national team players Baskota, Airee and Karki were the important members of the Nepali U-19 squad. Baskota had scored unbeaten 31 runs and took a wicket then while Airee was unbeaten with 12 runs. Karki had taken three wickets in the match. Kenya’s current squad members Patel and Allan were also in their U-19 team then. Allan had taken all four Nepali wickets in the match.

Nepal finished fifth in the group ‘A’ of the ICC World T20 Qualifiers being held in the UAE while Kenya remained in the fourth position of the group ‘B’.

Kenya proved to be unlucky in the ongoing tournament as they finished behind Scotland by the smallest margins of +0.007 on the net run-rate and missed the preliminary final for the World Cup qualification.

Kenya, the semifinalists of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, have been enjoying ODI status since 2009.

“The match against Kenya is an important one as it determines our ranking in the T20. We are ready to face them but we’ll decide our playing-set at the last moment,” said Diwakar Ghale, manager of the Nepali national team.

“There could be some changes in the team. Mehboob Alam was dropped against Canada but he could return in the playing-set on Thursday. Paresh Lohani has picked an ankle-injury and there is less possibility for him to play against Kenya,” he added.

If Nepal win the match against Kenya, they will take on the winners between Italy and Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Friday in the seventh place play-off. If Nepal lose the match against Kenya, they will take on the loser between Italy and PNG on Friday in the ninth place play-off.

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