Qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 through the League 2 phase resumes in Oman on Monday, 13 September, with the hosts welcoming USA and Nepal for an ODI tri-series in Muscat.
The six-match ODI series is available to view live on FanCode in the Indian sub-continent and on ICC.tv in the rest of the world.
It’s been a 579-day wait for eager fans of the competition with the last League 2 series held back in February 2020, when the same three teams battled in Kathmandu.
Nepal were solid at home, though it was Oman who pushed ahead on the CWCL2 standings, and they currently lead the standings with eight victories from 10 matches.
Omani batter Aqib Ilyas boasts an average of 76.25 so far in the competition, hitting 610 runs across 10 innings, with two centuries and four fifties. Ilyas’ efforts with the ball (14 wickets at 12.14) have also not gone unnoticed, complimenting pace spearhead Bilal Khan (18 wickets), and the left-arm orthodox of skipper Zeeshan Maqsood (19 wickets).
USA come into the tri-series with the best recent form line, emphatically beating Papua New Guinea twice in lead-in ODIs.
Nisarg Patel (4/30) and Noshthush Kenjige (3/22) spun a web to hand the Americans a seven-wicket victory in the first match, before Jaskaran Malhotra stole the limelight in game two, bludgeoning six sixes in an over on the way to an unbeaten 173* from 124 balls, the highest score in an ODI ever by a batter at No.5 in the order.
In other USA news, 18-year-old all-rounder Sanjay Krishnamurthi has been given a late call-up as injury cover off the back of strong domestic performances, as well as 24-year-old quick Kyle Phillip.
Nepal, despite matching the USA’s success with two wins of their own against the Barramundis, were pushed in their first victory, winning by just two wickets in a chase of 135.
Nepal is currently sixth in the League 2 table, and take the field for the first major competition without talisman Paras Khadka, who retired last month.
Gyanendra Malla leads a young Nepal side, also missing Dependra Singh Airee, ruled out with an ankle injury.
Sandeep Lamichhane looks in ominous form, taking ten wickets across the two matches against Papua New Guinea, and 19-year-old Rohit Kumar Paudel has enjoyed an important time in the middle, with knocks of 41 and 86.
TRI-SERIES FIXTURES - All matches are to be played in Muscat.
13 September: Nepal v USA (14h30); Turf 1
14 September: Oman v Nepal (14h30); Turf 1
16 September: Oman v USA (14h30); Turf 1
17 September: Nepal v USA (14h30); Turf 1
19 September: Oman v Nepal (14h30); Turf 1
20 September: Oman v USA (14h30); Turf 1
25 September: PNG v Scotland (09h30); Turf 2
26 September: Oman v PNG (09h30); Turf 2
28 September: Oman v Scotland (09h30); Turf 2
29 September: PNG v Scotland (14h30); Turf 1
1 October: Oman v PNG (14h30); Turf 1
2 October: Oman v Scotland (14h30); Turf 1
THE LEAGUE 2 SITUATION
The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 is a two-and-half-year competition involving seven teams that are two steps away from the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The participating teams are Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, United Arab Emirates and United States of America, and they will play 36 ODIs each on the Road to India 2023.
At the conclusion of the 21 tri-series, totalling 126 matches, the top three teams on the standings will qualify for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2022. The bottom four teams will drop into the Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off 2022 – a repechage event to the Global Qualifier – and will be joined by the winner of Challenge League A and B. The top two teams from the Play-Off will keep their hopes alive of participating in India 2023.
Oman currently lead the standings with 16 points from 10 matches, with USA second with 12 points from as many games. They are trailed by Scotland (nine points), Namibia (eight points), United Arab Emirates (seven points) and Nepal (four points), with Papua New Guinea the one team out of the seven yet to pick up a point.
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