Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

Cricket World Cup League Two: How can Nepal qualify for the World Cup in India?

Sandeep Lamichhane and Co will start their bid to make it to the 2023 World Cup when they host Oman and United States for a triangular series, starting this week

Sandeep Lamichhane, second right, and his Nepal teammates are aiming to get up and running in the Cricket World Cup League Two. Pawan Singh / The National
Sandeep Lamichhane, second right, and his Nepal teammates are aiming to get up and running in the Cricket World Cup League Two. Pawan Singh / The National

What is Cricket World Cup League Two?

It is a new ICC competition being played over a three-year period, which represents the start of the qualifying process for the next World Cup. That 10-team tournament will be played in India in 2023.

Success or failure in the seven-team league does not exactly guarantee a huge amount.

The top three teams advance to the World Cup Qualifier in 2022, which is a 10-team competition that carries with it the final two qualifying place for the main event in India a year later.

The bottom four teams in the CWCL2 get a second chance, anyway. They will enter a repechage event called the World Cup playoff. The top two teams in that also go to the Qualifier.

What it does guarantee is much-needed competitive cricket for a tier of the game that was often starved of that in the past.

Each of the eight teams will play 36 one-day internationals over the course of the league, via a succession of triangular series.

Who is winning?

Less than a year into the league, United States are the surprise leaders, having won six of their eight matches.

All the league has really shown so far is that all the sides appear evenly matched – apart from Papua New Guinea, who have lost all eight of their matches.

How are UAE doing?

Given the corruption scandal that hit the sport in this country last year, UAE entered the CWCL2 with relatively low expectations.

They started their campaign in December with a highly inexperienced squad, including six debutants, three of whom were university students and another who had to ask for time off school to play.

And yet the new-look side have done just fine so far. They beat Scotland in Dubai at the end of last year, then took two rousing wins off Namibia in Oman last month.

That series was curtailed prematurely because of the mourning period after the death of Sultan Qaboos, meaning UAE still have one fixture outstanding, against Oman.

What about Nepal?

The CWCL2 table looks odd at the moment, given that most teams have played eight matches – or would have done, were it not for the postponements at the end of the Oman series.

And yet Nepal have still to play a match. Furthermore, despite not having had the chance to register a point, they are not even bottom of the table – given PNG’s poor form, and their negative run-rate.

Nepal’s entry into the event has been keenly awaited. They are comfortably the best supported side in it – indeed, anywhere outside of the Test-playing nations.

The ground at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu is expected to attract thousands of supporters for what is their first home one-day international series.

In two ODI series to date they are undefeated. They drew a two-matches series in Netherlands in 2018, and beat UAE in Dubai last year.

Updated: February 3, 2020 03:09 PM

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