Match Preview – NEP vs SA 31st Match, Group D, T20 World Cup

Sportem
Sportem
7 Min Read

Big picture: Will spin play a role in Kingstown?

A tournament of firsts has an addition: this is the first time South Africa and Nepal will meet on the international circuit. And they do so from opposite ends of the group’s points table.

South Africa advanced to the Super Eight after the Nepal-Sri Lanka washout, but would have likely made it there anyway. They have won all three of their matches so far – two by close margins – and are looking like one of the form teams.
Nepal have yet to win a match – and have in fact only played one full game – but they might feel they have already enjoyed some success. A 7000-strong crowd in Dallas, made up almost entirely of their supporters, cheered Nepal through their opening game against Netherlands. But their batting wilted under pressure from the Netherlands seamers, which does not bode well for them coming up against South Africa, whose fast bowlers have been exceptional.
South Africa’s main concern coming into the tournament was the form of Anrich Nortje, but he is back to, and perhaps even better than, his previous best. Nortje has reached speeds of 150kph-plus, has shown off a good slower ball, is taking wickets, and is now two away from Dale Steyn’s record as South Africa’s leading bowler in men’s T20 World Cups. Nortje and Ottneil Baartman, with all his variations, have formed a formidable first and second change and have eclipsed Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada.
It is yet to be seen how much of a role the spinners will play – and remember South Africa have included three specialists in their squad but only used one, Keshav Maharaj, so far – and the trip to the Caribbean might reveal that. Should things take a turn in the direction of the spinners, Nepal are well resourced with the addition of Sandeep Lamichhane for the West Indian leg of the tournament.

Nepal: LLLWW (last five matches, most recent first)
South Africa: WWWLL

In the spotlight – Sandeep Lamichhane and the South Africa top order

Sandeep Lamichhane, Nepal’s best-known player, has not played an international match since November last year after being convicted of and then acquitted for rape. The latter came ten days before participating teams had to name their final squads for the tournament and his name was not on Nepal’s initial list. Cleverly, they only included 14 players. But Lamichhane was subsequently denied a visa to enter the USA and had to miss Nepal’s first two games, but has reached St Vincent.
All this for what, you may wonder? Well, Lamichhane is match-winner, who was the fourth-leading wicket-taker in ODIs last year, and played a key role in Nepal reaching the World Cup Qualifiers. He has described playing at a World Cup as “fulfilling my dreams and the dream of all cricket lovers“, and big things are expected of him.
The one aspect of South Africa’s game that needs improving is the performance of the top-three batters, who have collectively scored just 61 runs from nine trips to the crease. That may be due to the difficulties of the New York surfaces, where they played all their matches, and could change if conditions are less tricky in the Caribbean. Still, Quinton de Kock, who is likely playing his last international event, Reeza Hendricks, who was overlooked in 2022 and may feel the pressure to prove why that was the wrong decision, and Aiden Markram, who is captaining, will want to do better. De Kock and Markram have both made some starts but Hendricks is particularly short of runs. With Ryan Rickelton in the squad, he will know he has some competition.

Team news: SA will field their best XI

Nepal will have to leave someone out to make space for Lamichhane, if he is available for selection, and it could be left-arm spinner Sagar Dhakal, who was economical but went wicketless against Netherlands.

Nepal: 1 Kushal Bhurtel, 2 Aasif Sheikh (wk), 3 Anil Sah, 4 Rohit Paudel (Capt), 5 Kushal Malla, 6 Dipendra Singh Airee, 7 Sompal Kami, 8 Gulshan Jha, 9 Karan KC, 10 Sagar Dhakal/Sandeep Lamichhane, 11 Abinash Bohara

Unlike Australia, who may or may not empty their bench against Scotland, South Africa are not considering anything other than fielding what they believe is their best XI. White-ball coach Rob Walter was clear that the top three will be given the opportunity to get some runs, while any changes to the attack will only be conditions-based.

South Africa: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Aiden Markram (capt), 4 Tristan Stubbs, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Ottneil Baartman, 11 Anrich Nortje

Much like Eisenhower Park, this surface is also fairly unknown because of the scarcity of cricket here. On the evidence of the Bangladesh-Netherlands game, the surface is conducive for run-scoring and could offer a change from what South Africa experienced in New York. There are 58-metre boundaries on one side of the ground which means the big hitters will feel right at home.

It’s expected to be humid, sunny and slightly windy during the game.

“It’s easy to be chipper when you’re winning. Everyone is just pretty chuffed that they come out on the right side of the results and the way that we fought as a unit. We’ve got to celebrate a few wins, which has been great, and celebrate being part of the next phase of this competition. But we want to have a clean sweep of our pool round. That’s certainly something we’ll be focusing on and then taking that into the Super Eights.”
South Africa are not entertaining thoughts of taking it easy, according to coach Rob Walter.



Source link

Find Us on Socials

Share this Article
Leave a comment