Nepal beat China, qualify for Asia Cup

Kathmandu, October 15

Nepal defeated China by four wickets to finish second in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifying Series Asia Region at the Mission Road Ground in Mong Kok, Hong Kong today.

The second-place finish earned a place for Nepal in the Women’s Asia Cup after Thailand — who will host the tournament later this year — finished at the top of the double-league tournament. Thailand, who had already secured the berth in next year’s World Cup Qualifiers, finished first with 10 points from six matches following their seven-wicket victory over Hong Kong. Nepal climbed to second with six points, while China and Hong Kong finished third and fourth respectively on net run rate after being tied on four points.

According to International Cricket Council, the Women’s Asia Cup will be played in Twenty20 format in Thailand in November-December. The other teams in the tournament will be India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, apart from hosts Thailand.

In the final-round match, Nepal restricted China to 85-7 in 20 overs and reached the target losing six wickets with 15 balls to spare. Former skipper Nary Thapa top scored for Nepal with 22 off 27 balls that included a four, while Sita Rana Magar scored 24-ball 20 hitting a four. Skipper Rubina Chhetry struck three boundaries in her unbeaten 13 off just nine balls, whereas Indu Verma scored 10 off 21 balls hitting a four. Wu Juan, Zhongyuan Lyu, Li Yingying, Lui Jie and Fengfeng Song took a wicket for China, who also affected a run out.

Earlier, China made a good start with openers Zou Miao and Fengfeng Song adding 42 runs in 12 overs before Nirmala Kumari Shahi had the former stumped by Jyoti Pandey.  Miao scored 18 off 33, while Song scored 34 off 62 balls before being run out by Kajal Shrestha. Karuna Bhandari reduced China to 45-2 when she trapped Huang Zhou leg before the wicket for a golden duck in the next over.

Nepali bowlers were also able to check the run and skipper Chhetry struck twice in two balls to make it 62-4. She bowled Liu Jie (six) and Xiang Ruan (naught) with the fourth and fifth balls of the 17th over and also ran out Chai Yudian (10). Chhetry returned with 2-10 from four overs, while Nirmala Kumari Shahi and Karuna Bhandari took one wicket each.

Nepal skipper Chhetry said the team was excited to have earned a place in the Asia Cup. “We played good cricket and we are very happy that we could confirm a place in the Asia Cup. This is a big achievement for us,” said Chhetry, who was named the player-of-the-match. Out of the six matches played in the tournament, Nepal won three games.