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Led by Rohit Kumar Paudel, Nepal aim to overcome recent challenges and secure a strong start against a formidable Netherlands team in Group D clash.

United States: Nepal are set to begin their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 campaign against the Netherlands on Tuesday at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas as the Rhinos are returning to the biggest stage of T20 cricket after a decade.

Led by Rohit Kumar Paudel, the Nepali side is playing the Netherlands for the first time in a World Cup match. However, the two teams have faced each other 12 times in T20I cricket, with the Netherlands winning six times, Nepal five times, and one match ending with no result.

The spirited Nepali side, which had a busy calendar over the last six months, however, looks shaky as their opening pair—Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh—has been consistently failing and their bowlers are regularly leaking runs in the death overs.

Nepal, placed in Group D alongside the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Bangladesh, face a tough challenge to qualify for the next round, as only two teams will advance to the Super Eight stage. Nepal has yet to play Sri Lanka and South Africa in an international match, while in their debut World Cup in 2014, the Rhinos lost to Bangladesh by eight wickets.

Nepal has recently experienced mixed results. In preparation for the World Cup, Nepal played against the West Indies ‘A’ side but lost the series 3-2. Similarly, in the ACC Premier Cup held in Oman, the defending champions Nepal underperformed and failed to qualify for the next edition of the Asia Cup.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, are looking dangerous at the moment, having beaten test-playing nation Sri Lanka by 20 runs in a warm-up match.

In a pre-match press conference, Nepali captain Rohit Paudel said, “We [Nepali team] are all excited as Nepal is playing the World Cup after a decade. This was our dream.”

Talking about the first game, Paudel said that Nepal has played many matches against the Netherlands. “The team that handles the pressure will win. We will give our best. The first match in the tournament is very important. It gives confidence,” he added.

Nepal will play their next group matches against Sri Lanka in Florida on June 12, followed by clashes against South Africa on June 15 and against Bangladesh on June 17.