First Encounter between Nepal and Uganda
History in the making as Nepal meet a team from Africa for the first time in their T20 International career when they host Uganda from May 16th to 21st in the ancient city of Kirtipur in the Kathmandu Valley. An interesting contest ahead with both teams ranking in the teens with the ICC.
Hosts Nepal would appear to have the upper hand, for not only are they playing in their home conditions, but are also ranked marginally higher (16) against Uganda (19). Recent trends tell us that teams ranked inside the top twenty are generally more accurately ranked than those outside.
Uganda have the advantage of having recently competed in the Capricorn Series in Namibia so have match fitness in their favour. Despite having not won a match in the series they actually performed well with the ball and in the field, the only issue being the batting. Nepal on the other hand have not played as a team since the ICC Asia World T20 Qualifiers in November of 2021.
On balance you would tip the scales in favour of the home team, but if Uganda can show improvement with their batting, particularly in the Powerplay, then they can give Nepal a run for their money.
This is a new experience for the Nepal team, having never played a team from Africa in T20 Internationals. It’s not a factor at play in any tangible sense but a quaint historic first.
This team under-performed at the Asia World T20 Qualifiers and will be keen to make up for that in front of their home crowd. Both Sita Rana Magar (100) and new vice captain Indu Barma (81) were best with the bat and they will need to lead the way once again if Nepal are to succeed. Skipper Rubina Chhetry and Kajol Shrestha will also need to make significant contributions with the bat.
With the bowling, one to keep an eye on is Sangita Rai who was most impressive with her off breaks at the qualifiers, picking up 3-2 against Kuwait. The medium pace of both Sita Rana Magar and Rubina Chhetry will be important.
Kajol Shrestha will take the gloves but there may be an opening for Jyoti Pandey to keep wickets as well, having performed the task on five previous occasions.
Squad: Rubina Chhetri (c), Sita Rana Magar, Indu Barma (vc), Jyoti Pandey, Kajal Shrestha, Kabita Kunwar, Apsari Begam, Kabita Joshi, Dolly Bhatta, Asmina Karmacharya, Sangita Rai, Sabnam Rai, Roma Thapa, Sarnita Magar, Hiranmayee Roy, Bindu Rawal
The Victoria Pearls arrived in Nepal about 14 hours prior to the first match, so they will need to hit the ground running. This will be a wonderful opportunity for the players to test themselves outside of Africa.
In the recent Capricorn Series against Zimbabwe and hosts Namibia, the team walked away with no wins. They went close on a couple of occasions but the batting was a struggle throughout the tournament. Painfully slow during the Powerplay it is sure to be a key focus for the team.
Rita Musamali had a quiet time with the bat in Nambia so will be keen to step up here. She is the team’s highest run scorer and on the verge of passing 500 runs, the first player from Uganda to do so. She just needs 32 runs to achieve that.
Two key players to watch will be vice captain Janet Mbabazi and newcomer Phiona Kulume. Both were very impressive in Namibia, with Mbabazi winning player of the tournament, her allround skills such a vital cog in the Ugandan wheel. Kulume is a teenager who bowls right-arm medium and took 6-11 against Namibia. She bowls straight!
With spin, the captain Consy Nimungu Aweko is a crafty character and the team’s all-time leading wicket taker. Also watch out for the left-arm spin of Sarah Akiteng – she will take a bag of wickets one day. Maybe here.
The strength of the Victoria Pearls is with their bowling – so many good options and backed up by energetic and skillful fielders. Get the batting right and they may spring a surprise here.
Squad: Consy Nimungu (c), Janet Mbabazi (vc), Kevin Awino (wk), Leona Babirye, Rita Musamali, Frankline Najjumba, Sarah Walaza, Phiona Kulume, Susan Kakai, Shakirah Sadick, Everlyn Anyipo, Patricia Malemikia, Sarah Akiteng, Rita Nyangendo
Photo: Cricket Association of Nepal