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Batting 20 overs an achievement: Dassanayake

Nepal coach looks for positives after loss to Bangladesh; Man of the Match Al-Amin Hossain says he has “never faced such dew” in his life
Nepal may have only managed 126 and been comfortably beaten by Bangladesh at the ICC World Twenty20 on Tuesday (March 18), but it did its reputation as serious contenders no harm at all.
Pubudu Dassanayake, the former Sri Lanka and Canada player who is coaching the team, was understandably pleased with what he saw from his team, despite the result. “Batting 20 overs comfortably against a top quality team, that is also the home side, is an achievement,” he said. “But, we did have a few plans that we could not execute during the bowling part of the game. But this is part of the learning process. The boys have shown that they are up to it.”
The best passage of play for Nepal was the 85-run partnership between Sharad Vesawkar and Paras Khadka. “They went through the plans well. We wanted to be 90-100 for not too many down in the 15th over. They did what we asked of them,” said Dassanayake. “But what we lacked was a good finish. If we had got 140-145, things might have been different. Overall, I’m very happy with the quality of shots they played, the aggression that they showed. Overall, it was a good game for us, despite the result.”
When it was its turn to defend, Nepal’s bowlers, especially young Sompal Kami, were guilty of banging the ball in too short. This, the coach explained, was not by design. “We wanted to do the opposite, bowl fuller and attack the stumps. The idea was not to bowl short. But Sompal told me after that he was struggling to hold the ball,” said Dassanayake. “It was not intentional to bowl short. It’s one of those things that happen, I hope they’ve learnt a lot from this.”
Dassanayake was happy with the manner in which his team was shaping up and the brand of cricket they were playing. “Looking at Nepal, the national team and the youngsters, they’re very sound technically. The most important part is that they train very hard and play very hard,” he said. “That is what we are, our brand of cricket. If you saw the qualifiers in Dubai, we fought in every game to the last ball. Top quality fielding, the bowlers stuck to plans, the batsmen were well aware of what was needed in a chase, how to plan an innings. Today was a bit different, because of the occasion of playing against a full member country.”
A major cause for concern for Nepal has been the opening partnership, but even this was improving, felt Dassanayake. “In the last two games I’ve been happy with the way Subash (Khakurel) and Sagar (Pun) have shaped up. We’ve had an issue with the openers for a while, but we started believing in them and they have begun to play as a pair, as a partnership. They are showing the quality, but still they have to get more runs. That will come,” said Dassanayake. “Paras is leading from the front and showing his quality at this level. We missed Gyanendra (Malla) a bit today, when he was dismissed early. He’s another one who can score at this level.”
While the loss meant that there was only a mathematical chance of Nepal going through to the next round, the coach made it clear that there was still a lot to play for. “We just want to go and win matches. We have our plans and would like to go and execute them against Afghanistan,” said Dassanayake. “The only chance for us is for Bangladesh to lose to Hong Kong. We can’t control that, but we want to win and end with four points.”
Al-Amin Hossain, the Bangladesh pacer who was named Man of the Match for his figures of 4-0-17-2, explained how difficult it was to do the job out in the middle. “In the first over, I had a tough time controlling the ball because of the dew. I was thinking afterwards that I have to make amends in the next three overs. The wicket had grass, I had to make it count. I tried to do that,” said Al-Amin. “I bowled a few wides but I must say, I have never faced such dew in my life. I saw the seam was wet when I looked at it before bowling the second ball. I bowled cross-seam for a while and then I used the seam when it was better.”

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