Hong Kong batter Nepal in semis
KATHMANDU: Nepal failed to advance to the final for the first time in three tournaments when they lost to Hong Kong by seven wickets in the ACC Women’s Twenty20 Cricket Tournament in Malaysia on Friday.
Put into bat first at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Nepal scored 76-6 in their allotted 20 overs. In reply, Hong Kong reached 79-3 in 16.1 overs, handing Nepal their second defeat of the tournament and third overall. Nepal lost to Thailand in the group stage here. Nepal’s first loss in women’s cricket was in the inaugural ACC Women’s Cricket Tournament in Malaysia in 2007 against Bangladesh in final.
The win also completed Hong Kong’s revenge over Nepal, who had beaten them by the same margin in the 2007 event in Malaysia.
On Friday, Nepali openers Rekha Rawal — sent in by coach Pradeep Raj Pandey in place of regular opener Maya Rawat — and Neera Rajopadhyay faltered again. Nepal received the first blow in the third over when Godiva Li bowled Rekha (2) with just eight runs of the board. Maya Joined Neera at the crease and the duo added 54 runs for the second wicket but the duo consumed 81 balls in the process.
When Neera was caught by Neisha Pratt off Ishitaa Gidwani in the 15.5 overs, Nepal were
62-2. Neera top scored with
28 off 47 balls hitting three boundaries, while Maya remained unbeaten on 25 off 54 balls that included two boundaries. Other three batswomen — skipper Ritu Kanoujiya, Rashmi Sharma and Sonu Khadka — failed to open their accounts, while Nary Thapa scored three facing five balls and Neetu Thapa remained unbeaten on run-a-ball three.
Skipper Kanoujiya was run out even before she faced the ball, while Rashmi and Sonu returned to the pavilion facing one ball each. Connie Wong was the pick of the Hong Kong bowlers with 2-17 in four overs, while Godiva Li, Ishitaa Gidwani and Keenu Gill took one wicket apiece.
In reply, Hong Kong had a disastrous start losing the first wicket in the third over with just four runs on the board. Skipper Ritu Kanoujiya had opener Keenu Gill caught by Maya Rawat for two runs. Hong Kong skipper Neisha Pratt and Chan Sau Har added 32 runs for the second wicket as they reached 36-2 in 7.1 overs before Nary Thapa trapped Pratt (6) leg before the wicket.
Har and Connie Wang then took the match away from Nepal’s reach with a partnership of 27 runs for the third wicket. Nary bowled Har in the 15th over but by then Hong Kong needed just 14 runs to win the match. Har scored 22 off 40 balls hitting three boundaries. Wong and Emma Phillips guided Hong Kong home with an unbroken stand of 13 runs for the fourth wicket. Wong remained unbeaten on 15 off 26 balls including two fours, while Phillips struck two fours in her 8-ball 11 not out.
Nary Thapa returned with 2-10 in four overs, while Kanoujiya took 1-14 in her 3.1-over spell. Nepal conceded a total of 23 extra runs, including 20 wides. Nepal will now play against China in the third-place play-off at the Kinrara Oval on Saturday. China lost to Thailand by 27 runs in the other semi-final match. The final between Hong Kong and Thailand is also on Saturday.
Nepal skipper Ritu said she was sad for not reaching the final for the first time in three tournaments. “None of the three departments — batting, bowling and fielding - did well today,” she said. “The batswomen who remained at the crease for long could not score runs while the bowling extras were also the reason behind the defeat,” said Kanoujiya. “The team had high hopes from the bowlers but they could not live up to their expectations today,” she added.
Coach Pradeep Raj Pandey also blamed the bowlers. “Bowling was out strongest department and today they were frustrating today. And on top of that they conceded 23 extra runs,” said Pandey. “The bowlers failed to perform and so were the batswomen and the fielders,” he added. “We could not get more runs as the batswomen wasted more balls,” said Pandey.
Rekha Rawal b Li 2
Neera Rajopadhyay c Pratt b Gidwani 28
Maya Rawat not out 25
Ritu Kanoujiya run out 0
Rashmi Sharma c Pratt b Gill 0
Sonu Khadka c & b Wong 0
Nary Thapa c Gill b Wong 3
Neetu Thapa not out 3
Extras: 15 (w 2, b3)
Total: 76-6 (20 overs)
FoW: 1-8, 2-62, 3-63, 4-64, 5-64, 6-72
Hong Kong bowling: Godiva 3-1-13-1,
Ishitaa 4-0-17-1, Chan Sau 4-1-5-0,
Betty 3-0-17-0, Wong 4-0-17-2, Gill 2-0-4-1
Keenu Gill c Maya b Ritu 2
Neisha Pratt lbw b Nary 6
Chan Sau Har b Nary 22
Connie Wong not out 15
Emma Phillips not out 11
Extras: 23 (nb1, w20, lb2)
Total: 79-3 (16.1 overs)
FoW: 1-4, 2-36, 3-63
Nepal bowling: Ritu Kanoujiya 3.1-0-14-1, Rekha Rawal 2-0-5-0,
Neera Rajopadhyay 1-0-8-0,
Sonu Khadka 3-0-26-0, Nary Thapa 4-0-10-2, Rubina Chhetri 2-0-9-0, Janaki Bhatta 1-0-5-0
Result: Hong Kong won by 7 wickets
Player of the Match: Connie Wong (Hong Kong)