Nary bowls Nepal to semi-finals

KATHMANDU: Nary Thapa returned with the record bowling figures as Nepal outplayed Bhutan to enter the semi-finals of the ACC Women’s Twenty20 Cricket Tournament in Malaysia today.

Electing to bat first at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Bhutan were bowled out for a paltry 31 runs in 15.5 overs. In reply, Nepal overcame the target losing two wickets in 8.4 overs.

Nary, the former skipper of the Nepali women teams that took part in the last two tournaments, returned with the best bowling figure in women’s cricket when she took 5-5 in four overs surpassing Rubina Chhetri’s record of 5-12. Nary, who was dropped in one match, got to bowl for the first time in the tournament.

Rubina, who became the first ever Nepali cricketer to take a hat-trick and five wickets in five balls in international cricket, had claimed 5-12 against Singapore on Saturday becoming the first Nepali women cricketer to complete a five-wicket haul.

On Tuesday, none of the Bhutanese batswomen could score in double figures and their total of 31 runs included 16 sundries — 15 wides and a bye. Five players failed to open their accounts despite a 20-run stand between the openers Ugyen Dema and Yeshi Choden, who top scored with seven off 30 balls. Four others were out for one run each.

Nary, who returned with the figures of 4-2-5-5, was named the player of the match. Rekha Rawal took 3-8 in 3.3 overs, while Neera Rajopadhyay claimed 1-3 in two overs.

In reply, Manisha Rawal and Nary Thapa scored 15 for the opening stand before Anju Gurung had Nary caught by D Wangmo for three runs in the 4.2 overs. Rawal, who scored nine off 19 balls, followed after six runs when she was trapped leg before wicket by Anju in the 6.2 overs.

Coach Pradeep Raj Pandey changed the opening pair in the day’s match. In previous three matches, Maya Rawat opened the Nepal’s innings with Neera Rajopadhyay.

Janaki Bhatta and Saraswoti BK both hit a boundary each to complete the formality. Janaki remained not out on seven off 13 balls, while Saraswoti scored unbeaten six off seven balls. Anju Gurung took both the wickets returning with 2-7 in four overs.

Delighted for making it to the semi-finals, skipper Ritu Kanoujiya praised the bowlers. “The bowlers did tremendous job today and the fielders were also good. But we conceded many extra runs which needs to be amended in our next match,” she said.

“Nary was outstanding today and we regretted for not giving her the chance to

bowl in the previous matches. Hopefully she will continue from next match,” Kanoujiya added. She also said the team was confident of reaching the semi-finals as the group winner.

Coach Pandey also said the team was looking forward to become the group winners after the one-sided affair with Bhutan. “We are happy with the win and once again the bowlers are making our task easy,” said Pandey. “We were confident of Nary and she proved it today. She will continue bowling from now on,” Pandey added.

Nepal will take on Thailand in the Group A last match at the Kinrara Oval. The winner of the match will become the group winners. “We have taken Thailand as the strong opponents and the best eleven will play the match,” Pandey added.