Nepal stay alive with HK win in ICC Women’s World Cup qualifying series for Asia region

  • Karuna Bhandari stars with an all-round display, helps bowl out Hong Kong for 69 in defense of 75

Oct 14, 2016-

Nepal remained in contention for the 2017 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers on Thursday defeating Hong Kong by six runs for their second consecutive victory in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifying Series for Asia Region.

Karuna Bhandari starred with both bat and ball as Nepal defended their 75-8 from 20 overs bowling out Hong Kong for just 69 runs in a thrilling match at the Kowloon Cricket Club. The second consecutive victory saw Nepal remain at the third spot with four points from four matches but victories over Thailand and China in their remaining two games can open the chances for the 2017 Qualifiers.

In the double round robin league tournament where only the winners will qualify for the Qualifiers, Nepal had opened their campaign with defeat at the hands of Hong Kong and Thailand. However, they bounced back by defeating China, who earned their first victory in four matches overcoming Thailand by three wickets on Thursday. Thailand are at the top of the table with six points from four games, while Hong Kong are second on net run rate after tying with Nepal on points.

Nepal coach Raju Basnyat knew how important the team’s victory on Thursday was. “Our victory (today) and China’s win against Thailand have blown the top spot race wide open. The consecutive victory has boosted the morale in our camp. Now we want to win the next two games by huge margin and head into the global qualifiers,” said coach Basnyat.

Nepal were squeezed out for just 77 runs in their first match against Hong Kong and another humiliation was awaiting them before Bhandari stepped in and made some crucial runs to lift the team total.  She hit two boundaries in a 27-ball 19 not out that gave Nepal some hopes. Reduced to 9-3 in 3.3 overs, Indu Verma and Jyoti Pandey (11) offered a brief resistance.

Verma also forged 17-run partnership with Nary Thapa who made a 12-ball 10 with two boundaries. Verma was Nepal’s second best scorer with a 26-ball 15. Chan Ka Man picked up 3-11 for Hong Kong, while Keenu Gill took 2-9 from four overs.

Hong Kong were at the top of the game at 33-1 before Nirmala Shahi had their top scorer Kary Chan stumped by wicketkeeper Jyoti Pandey. Hong Kong were yet to add to the total when Bhandari removed Gill (10) to unsettle the hosts’ innings. Chan made 18 off 22 with a boundary. Mariko Hill (13) was their next best scorer.

Bhandari ended up with the figures of 3-17 from four overs, while Sita Rana Magar snapped 2-15. Skipper Rubina Chhetri and Sabnam Rai also took a wicket each. Player-of-the-match Bhandari said Thursday’s performance was a big boost for her and the team. “We didn’t do well with the bat but we were confident with our bowling,” said Bhandari.

“Everyone bowled very well. We are excited for our next game because the victory was morale-boosting. I would like to up my game and contribute in team’s victory in coming games,” said Bhandari who didn’t get any chance to bowl in the first three games. Coach Basnyat expects more from his side.

“We are capable of scoring more than 100 runs but we are not able to do that. If we put 100 runs on the board then we can beat any side in this competition. It’s all about match-exposure. The team is gradually improving,” added the coach.

Published: 14-10-2016 09:45

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