Nepal forced to share points with Malaysia

Johor Bahru, July 14:

Nepali women failed to score one run in 12 balls with two wickets remaining and were forced to share points with hosts Malaysia in the ACC Women’s Tournament in Johor Bahru today.

Nepal needed two runs to win from the last two overs after ninth-wicket pair of Neera Rajopadhyay and Sita Thapa had added 21 runs. A wide ball then tied the scores but both Neera (9) and last batswoman Keshari Chaudhary were out while trying to play big shots. Chasing 74 for victory, Nepal were all out for 73 with 10 balls remaining.

Batting first, Malaysia steadily accumulated runs against the Nepali attack which rarely bowled anything loose. Malaysia’s batters never quite trusted themselves to go for big shots on a sluggish pitch of low bounce. Captain Arina Rahim top-scored with 16. Nepal’s captain Nary Thapa (3-10) shone again and Neera (4-8) showed that against decent spin, batsw-omen new to the game can be really made to struggle.

In reply, Nepal’s opening pair put on 29 runs in 10 overs before Manisha Rawal (13) was bowled by Aisha Ali. The game was held up for two hours due to rain. Malaysia came out sharper and thanks to two run-outs in two balls and another run-out four balls later, Nepal were 42-4 in 14 overs. That became 45-5 and then 52-8 in 20 overs.

Malaysia captain Rahim did a pretty good job by only conceding two runs in the 28th over. By now, however, Nepal were on 72, with Neera and Sita still at the crease. Alessandra Shunmugam came on to bowl. A wide tied the scores. The second ball of the over saw Neera come down the wicket and miss and a smart-piece of work by Eliani had the bails off.

Nepal’s last bat Keshari walked in, looking ever so tense. Another dot ball. Next ball, going for a huge pull over the top, Chaudhary sliced to point and Zoe Landry took a superb catch.

The result means that a semi-final spot is still open to both teams. Nepal (six points) will face already qualified Hong Kong on Sunday while Malaysia (two points) take on Thailand.