Nepal national women’s cricket team kept their qualification hope alive with a six-wicket victory over Malaysia in their penultimate match of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asian Region Qualifier at the ICC Academy grounds in Dubai on Friday.
Inviting Malaysia to bat first, Nepal restricted the opponents at 92-7 before making 93-4 with 10 balls to spare and grab their third victory in a row. Opener Sita Rana Magar and captain Rubina Chhetry shone with bat in the run chase.
Nepal, who lost their opening match by six wickets against Hong Kong on Monday, had defeated Bhutan and Kuwait in their previous matches on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
The outcome meant, Nepal are in second place with six poNepal now must beat theints, two points behind leaders United Arab Emirates (UAE) who have won all four matches. Hong Kong, who also have equal six points as Nepal, are third due to an inferior net run rate.
UAE in their last group match on Sunday and maintain superior run rates over Hong Kong and the UAE to secure a place in the global qualifiers. Hong Kong will vie against Kuwait, the bottom-placed team in the standings. If Hong Kong win by a big margin and Nepal beat the UAE, all three teams will have eight points each. In such a scenario teams having better run rate will progress into global qualifiers. If the UAE beat Nepal, both Hong Kong and Nepal will return home empty handed as the tournament only guarantees the top finishers of the group a place for global qualifiers next year.
Nepal started bright against Malaysia removing openers duo Winfred Duraisingam for a duck and Wan Julia for one run. Duraisingam was bowled by Kabita Kunwar in the first over and Julia was run out in the following over.
But Elsa Hunter who came to bat number three consolidated the innings with an unbeaten 39 runs off 48. She hit three fences. Malaysian batters Yusrina Yaakop and Mas Elysa were other remarkable contributors scoring double digit figures. Yaakop hit 25-ball 12 before she was bowled by Sabnam Rai while Elysa hit 14 off 21 before being removed by captain Chhetry.
Rai claimed two wickets for Nepal in her four-over spell conceding 27 runs with a maiden over. Kunwar, Chhetri and Karuna Bhandari pocketed one wicket each.
Nepal too had a shaky start in their run chase losing opener Indu Barma for four runs. But her opening partner Sita Rana Magar and captain Chhetri played a 48 run stand for second wicket steering Nepal to a comfortable position.
Rana Magar contributed the highest 30 runs in the innings off 38 balls while Chhetry hit 29-ball 20. Chettry was the second wicket to fall after she was run out. Rana Magar, who hit three boundaries, also followed the captain’s suit.
Sarita Magar contributed an unbeaten 15 runs off 17 deliveries while Kabita Kunwar scored valuable 10 runs. Kunwar faced 16 deliveries before being run out.
Apart from Aisya Eleesa’s one wicket for Malaysia, three other Nepali batters became run-out victims.