Kathmandu, February 25

Nepal defeated China by five runs in the ICC Women’s Qualifiers Asia match at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok today.

Batting first, Nepal posted 77-9 in their allotted 20 overs before restricting China to 72-6. With the victory, Nepal accumulated eight points from five matches and moved to third position behind the United Arab Emirates, who also have eight points but are ahead on net run rate.

Thailand, who registered their fifth straight victory beating Malaysia by 87 runs in the day’s another match, are almost certain of finishing at the top of the table with one match remaining. The hosts have 10 points from five matches and are at the strong position to win the title along with berths in both the T20 and 50-over ICC World Cup Qualifiers.

If Thailand face defeat in the last match and Nepal and the UAE register victories, the champions of the tournament will be decided on net run rate as all three teams will be tied on 10 points. With the current net run rate of 3.449, Thailand are way ahead of the UAE (1.843) and Nepal (0.345).

At the bottom half of the seven-team table, China have six points, while Hong Kong and Malaysia are tied on two each. Kuwait, who lost five matches, are yet to open their accounts. Nepal will face Kuwait in the last match of the tournament on Wednesday, while Thailand will take on the UAE and Hong Kong are up against Malaysia.

On Monday, Nepal made a strong start with openers Kajal Shrestha and Sita Rana Magar putting up 32 runs in nine overs before they were sent back to the pavilion in the space of two runs. Shrestha scored 18 off 32 balls hitting a four, while Magar scored 11 off 25 balls.

Indu Barma (eight) and Bindu Rawal (10) added 17 runs for the second wicket before they were dismissed in the space of one run and Apsari Begam (three) also fell cheaply as Nepal lost the last five wickets for just 17 runs. Former skipper Nary Thapa remained unbeaten on seven. Wang Meng (2-13) and Han Lili (2-14) shared four wickets between them, while Wu Juan, Liu Jie and Li Haoye took one wicket each for China.

In reply, China fell six runs short despite a fighting 33 from Zhang Mei, who struck two fours in her 39-ball knock. Caiyun Zhou also scored a painstaking 18 off 61 balls. China were reduced to 20-3 inside seven overs before Mei and Zhou threatened to take the match away from Nepal with a 38-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

But Nepali bowlers hung on to defend the total conceding just 14 runs in the last 10 balls. Sita Rana Magar was the pick of the Nepali bowlers taking 3-19 from four overs and she also earned the player-of-the-match award. Kabita Kunwar claimed 1-9.