Sandeep Lamichhane admits Nepal have 'plenty of room' for improvement

Victory over PNG on Tuesday helps end Cricket World Cup League 2 tour of UAE on a high

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Sandeep Lamichhane said Nepal are still looking for answers despite the uplifting end to their Cricket World Cup League 2 tour of UAE.

Aarif Sheikh inspired the Nepal side to a seven-wicket win over Papua New Guinea at the Dubai International Stadium.

The victory arrived on the back of two damaging defeats to the host nation earlier in the tri-series, which had shown up batting issues that have plagued Nepal for some time now.

They responded by dropping former captain Gyanendra Malla, and they thrived in his absence.

Having restricted PNG to 173-8 from their 50 overs, Aarif – who top scored with 59 not out - shared in a stand worth 87 with Kushal Bhurtel, then an unbroken one of 77 with Rohit Paudel. It meant Nepal chased the win with 78 balls to spare.

“Still, there is plenty of room to improve,” Lamichhane, the Nepal captain, said.

“Every day is a new opportunity for us. Even though we won the game, we are definitely going to look at the plans. We have another game coming up in a few days again against PNG [in Kathmandu].

“The coach [Pubudu Dassanayake] and I will sit together and discuss further about things. But this is a perfect way to end this series.”

Given the batting troubles of earlier in the series – Nepal had been bowled out for 103 and 120 by UAE – Lamichhane was delighted by the fight shown against PNG.

The way Aarif batted today and finished the game, it is really nice to see
Sandeep Lamichhane

“From the start to the way we finished, they all deserve a lot of appreciation,” Lamichhane said of his side’s batters.

“Aarif was given a new role coming in today at No 3. It was a new position for him and the way he batted today and finished the game, it is really nice to see.

“The way Rohit also helped him during the middle overs was really nice.”

Despite the win, Nepal remain sixth in the seven-team league. UAE, the other team in the tri-series, are now second after winning five of eight matches in the competition over the past two week.

PNG’s win against UAE two days previously remains their only win in the competition so far. Assad Vala, their captain, was upset by how his side had let their standards slip against Nepal.

“I thought we played some really good cricket over the first three days, then to end the way we did was disappointing,” said Vala, who had top scored with 45 for PNG.

“Batting out all the 50 overs in all four games was a plus for us. The bowling was exceptional over the first three games, but today I was disappointed with the standards we showed.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted to finish the tournament. We just couldn’t put them under pressure. We were just floating the ball up and making it easy for them.

“We couldn’t break the partnerships. We had seen their struggles over the course of the last two games against UAE, and we knew if we could get wickets we would be in the game. We just couldn’t exert pressure.”

Updated: March 22, 2022, 1:57 PM