Nepal beat China, finish third

KATHMANDU: Nepal defeated China by 73 runs to finish third in the ACC Women’s Twenty20 Cricket Tournament in Malaysia on Saturday.

Hong Kong, who beat Nepal by seven wickets in the semi-final, registered a four-run win over Thailand in final.

At the Kinrara Oval, Nepal scored 103-5 in 20 overs after skipper Ritu Kanoujiya elected to bat first. In reply, Nary Thapa took four wickets to restrict China to a paltry 30 runs in 10.2 overs.

Nary’s 4-10 in four overs also made her the best bowler of the tournament with 14 wickets in six matches. The former skipper also became Nepal’s most successful bowler in women’s international cricket when she took 5-5 against Bhutan. Another Nepali bowler, Rubina Chhetri made history as she became the first-ever Nepali bowler to take a hat-trick in any form and level of international cricket when she took five wickets in five balls against Singapore.

On Saturday, opener Maya Rawat top scored for Nepal with 17 off 43 balls, while Neera Rajopadhyay and skipper Ritu made 15 each. Neera hit three fours in her 17-ball innings, while Ritu scored 15 off 22 balls including a boundary. Rekha Rawal and Sonu Khadka remained unbeaten on eight and seven runs respectively. Nepal’s total was boasted by 30 sundries. Nary Thapa and Rashmi Sharma, who both scored four runs apiece, were run out.

For China, Mei Chun Hua, Yang Yuxuan and Yu Miao took one wicket each. In reply, none of the Chinese batswomen could score in double figure against Nepal’s bowling. Wang Meng’s seven was the highest run in their innings. Only 18 runs came from Chinese bats as Nepal conceded 12 extras.

Nary was well supported by Rekha Rawal (2-4), Rubina (1-5) and Ambika Budhathoki (1-7) in two overs each. Nary was declared the player of the match. “It came to me as a surprise and I am extremely happy to receive the honour,” said Nary of the bowler of the tournament award.

“This is a dream come true as I always wanted to win the honour. But I had given up when I was called for chucking in 2008,” added Nary, who guided Nepal to the ACC Under-19 Women’s Cricket Tournament victory in 2008 in Thailand. “I could have done better had I get the chance in the first three matches,” said Nary, who also led the Nepali side that entered the final of the inaugural ACC Women’s Cricket Tournament in Malaysia in 2007.

Skipper Ritu Kanoujiya said the team was happy to finish first after losing in the semi-final. “All the departments clicked today and we could win the match easily because of the bowlers’ good performance,” she said.

In the final at the Bayuemas Oval, Hong Kong scored 106-4 in 20 overs and restricted Thailand to 102-4 runs. Player of the match, Keenu Gill scored 39 runs and returned to take 2-17.