Win over China not enough for Nepal

Kathmandu, November 26

Nepal failed to qualify for the next year’s ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifiers despite beating China by 50 runs in the Asia’s Regional Qualifiers at the Asian Institute of Technology Ground in Bangkok today.

Put into bat first, Nepal scored 102-8 in their allotted 20 overs before bowling China for a paltry 52 runs in 18.2 overs. The United Arab Emirates’ 34-run victory over Malaysia dashed Nepal’s chances for the global qualifiers to be hosted by the Netherlands next year.

UAE, who accumulated eight points, finished second behind the leaders Thailand (nine points), while Nepal came third with six points. Thailand defeated Hong Kong by four wickets to lead the table. Thailand and UAE qualified for the global qualifiers and also advanced to the final of the ongoing competition.

Hong Kong (five), Malaysia (two) and China, who failed to open account, finished fourth to sixth. Nepal will now face Hong Kong in the third place play-off match, while Thailand and the UAE will fight for the title on Monday. In previous matches, Nepal were forced to share points with Thailand and Hong Kong due to rain before facing a five-run defeat at the hands of the UAE. Nepal then beat Malaysia by 33 runs.

On Sunday, openers Sita Rana Magar (four) and Jyoti Pandey (nine) faltered as Zhang Xiangxue dismissed both of them to reduce Nepal to 20-2 inside three overs. But, Kajal Shrestha and Nary Thapa shared a 28-run partnership for the third wicket to revive the innings. Shrestha scored 16 off 26 balls hitting a boundary, while Thapa hit a four in her 24-ball 11.

After Thapa’s departure, Nepal saw a collapse and lost four wickets for just 20 runs to be 68-7 in 16 overs. Skipper Rubina Chhetri guided her team to a fighting total with a quick fire 14-ball 18 not out that included two boundaries. China’s Zhang Xiangxue took 3-19, while Li Haoye, Han Lili and Mingyue Zhu bag a wicket each.

In reply, China were never in contention after Nepal’s Sabnam Rai rattled the top order to reduce them to 4-3 inside four overs. China could not recover and were all out cheaply. Han Lili top scored for China with 15 off 23 balls hitting two boundaries and Caiyun Zhou added 16-ball 10 with help of a four.

Player-of-the-match Sabnam Rai (3-7) and skipper Rubina Chhetri (3-11) shared six wickets between them, while Sita Rana Magar claimed 2-7 and Karuna Bhandari took 1-11 for Nepal. Rai completed her hat-trick on her way to claiming the three wickets. She became the third Nepali player to achieve the feat in international tournament. Rubina Chhetry, skipper of the current team, and Karuna Bhandari had taken hat-tricks for the national women’s team in the past.