Nepal and Kenya are hoping to put their experience during recent tours of India to best use as they look to garner maximum points in the upcoming ICC World Cricket League matches in Kathmandu on 11 and 13 March.
Nepal recently played three matches in New Delhi while Kenya played four matches in the western Indian city of Vadodara in preparation for their WCL fixtures, hoping to remain in contention for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018.
The top four sides from among the eight sides will make it to the Qualifier, which will also feature the four bottom sides from the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2017 and two top sides from the WCL Division 2.
Kenya is slightly better off with eight points from four matches. It defeated Namibia 2-0, drew 1-1 with both Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates while losing both its matches to Papua New Guinea. After Nepal, Kenya is due to play Scotland and table-leader Netherlands.
Kenya captain Rakep Patel says his team has prepared well for the conditions expected at the Tribhuvan University ground.
“We have tried our best to replicate the conditions we would face there in Nepal by having four games against various sides in Baroda. Acclimatizing to the conditions is essential and nothing beats match practice as the conditions will be very similar in Nepal.
“We would definitely have liked to be higher in the points table but all is not lost and this makes the upcoming two games very essential to finish in the top-four, which is our desired goal. The main objective, however clichéd, is to win. Not only will it help us climb the points table but will give the young side much needed confidence for the future. There's a lot riding on these games for us.”
Patel picked all-rounders Collins Obuya and Nehemiah Odhiambo and batsmen Irfan Karim and Alex Obanda as the players to watch in his team. He named rookie leg-spinner Pushpak Kerai as a surprise commodity and as a back-up for left-arm spinner Shem Nogech, since he expects spinner-friendly pitches for the two matches.
Kenya: Rakep Patel (captain), Dhiren Gondaria, Irfan Karim, Karan Kaul, Pushpak Kerai, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Lucas Oluoch, Elijah Otieno, Rushabhvardhan Patel, Gurdeep Singh.
Nepal: Paras Khadka (captain), Dipendra Airee, Mahaboob Alam, Binod Bhandari, Sunil Dhamala, Shakti Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Gyanendra Malla, Sagar Pun, Basant Regini, Aarif Sheikh, Sharad Vesawkar,
Umpires: Sarika Prasad and Vinay Jha; Third umpire: Durga Nath Subedi
Match referee: Dev Govindjee