Rubina bowls Nepal to thrilling win

KATHMANDU: Rubina Chhetry created history by taking five wickets in as many balls as Nepal defeated Singapore 2-1 in Bowl-out after both the teams were tied at 79 runs in the Group A match of the ACC Women’s Cricket Tournament at the Selangor Turf club in Kuala Lumpur, today.

Rubina became the first-ever Nepali cricketer to complete a hat-trick in any form of cricket in international tournaments. The right-arm medium pace bowler from Jhapa completed the hat-trick with the second, third and fourth balls of the last over. She then bowled a wide and claimed another two wickets with the last two balls to take five wickets in as many legal balls.

Rubina finished with 3-0-12-5 and also earned the player of the match award. This is Rubina’s first international tournament. Nepal had earlier participated in two Asian Cricket Council (ACC) events. In 2007, Nepal finished runner up in the inaugural ACC Women’s Cricket Tournament in Malaysia, while the Nepali girls won the ACC Under-19 Cricket Tournament in Thailand in 2008.

Earlier, Nepal scored 79-9 in their allotted 20 overs after skipper Ritu Kanoujiya won the toss and decided to take the first strike. In reply, Singapore were all out for 79 in 20 overs, thanks to Rubina who dismissed the last five batswomen in the last over of the match conceding just one run.

Singapore were cruising towards victory with just two runs needing from the last over. Ritu gave the

ball to Rubina and she turned

the match upside down. Bowling her third over of the match,

Rubina began with a dot ball and took three wickets in three balls before bowling a wide ball that levelled the scores at 79-all. She then claimed two more wickets in another two balls as the match ended in a tie.

In Bowl-out, Rekha Rawal and Neera Rajopadhyay hit the targets for Nepal, while only Dirtty Sethi was a successful bowler for Singapore. This is Nepal’s second win. Nepal defeated newcomers Iran by 62 runs on Friday.

Earlier, Nepal made a disastrous start losing three wickets in four balls with just six runs on the board. The opening pair of Maya Rawat and Neera Rajopadhyay — who put on 53 runs on the board against Iran - faltered today. They added just six runs in 20 balls before the collapse began.

Nepal lost three wickets in the second, third and fifth balls of the fourth over bowled by Lakshmi Mukherjee and it became 10-4 in five overs. The 32-run stand for

the eighth wicket between Sarita Magar and Ambika Chhetry was the highest of the innings which gave some respectability to the total.

When the duo began consolidating the innings, it was 42-7 in 12 overs. They added 32 runs in 6.2 overs. Sarita’s unbeaten 20 was the highest individual score of the match. She hit three boundaries in 22 balls. Skipper Ritu, who batted at No 5, scored a quick fire 18 off 17 balls that included four hits to the ropes. Vice Captain Neetu Thapa (11 off 21 balls) and Ambika (10 off 20 balls) were the other batswomen to score in double digits.

The Nepali players also lacked the coordination in running between the wickets as five of the nine wickets that fell were run out. Maya Rawat (4), Rashmi Sharma (0), Neetu (11), Ambika (10) and Rubina Chhetry (0) were run out. For Singapore, Annapurna Mukherjee took 2-14, while Lakshmi and Diviya GK claimed one each.

In reply, Singapore also started badly losing the first wicket in the fourth over with eight runs on the board. Wickets fell at regular intervals and Nepal returned back to match after the Nepali bowlers reduced Singapore at 38-4 in 11 overs.

Catherine Tyler and Chamitri Vidyaratne frustrated the Nepali bowlers and guided the team towards victory with a stand of 36 runs for the fifth wicket before Rekha Rawal dismissed the latter in the 18.5 overs.

At that point, Singapore needed six runs of seven balls. But the Rubina heroics restricted them to 79.