Nepali women seek first final in 12 years as unknown Indonesia loom

  • Thailand Women’s Twenty20 Smash
- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu

Jan 18, 2019-

Nepal take on unknown opponents Indonesia in their semi-final match of the Thailand Women’s Twenty20 Smash on Friday as the country seeks first ever final appearance of a knockout tournament in the last 12 years. 

Nepal haven’t reached final of any tournament after finishing second in the 2007 ACC Women’s Tournament where they lost to now a Test-nation Bangladesh. The 2007 tournament was an event from where Nepali women had started their journey in international cricket. 

Although the country boasts a hat-trick of titles in the ACC Under-19 Women’s Championship, the women’s cricket currently is in disarray with no domestic tournament to compete for especially after the suspension of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) in 2016.

The Twenty20 Smash—an invitational tournament organised by the Cricket Association of Thailand—is Nepal’s first international tournament in over a year and comes at a time when they are preparing for the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Asia Qualifier. The February 18-27 round robin league Qualifier — also to be held in Thailand—will only send the winners into the Global Qualifier for 2020 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. 

With even bigger tournament looming, Nepal coach Binod Das just wants his side to get better with every game. “The Twenty20 Smash is a great preparation for us ahead of the Qualifiers. Reaching the final or winning the tournament of course is important but even if we lose by displaying a great game of cricket, I won’t mind,” said Das.

“The best part of this tournament is that the girls are gradually improving from the time they first trained back in Kathmandu. They have started to bring change in their match behaviour and are showing a different level of intensity in the field. I am pretty happy with the way we are shaping up,” added Das who is also the coach of Nepali U-19 boys’ team.

Nepal are completely unaware of Indonesia against whom they have never played before. In a Group ‘B’ that consisted of title contenders Thailand, Indonesia emerged as a surprise package to finish runners-up winning three out of four league games. Nepal on the other hand were pretty clinical, hammering all their Group ‘A’ opponents barring the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Nepal had opened the tournament with a crushing 10-wicket victory over China before sweeping aside Malaysia by six wickets. Nepal’s previous encounter with UAE had ended in a slim five-run defeat during the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifying Series Asia Region in Bangkok in November, 2017. But they avenged that loss by easing to a six-wicket win while chasing 106 runs in their third match. 

Another nine-wicket rout of Thailand ‘A’ sent them into the semi-final as group winners. Although his team has managed to play with dominance, Das doesn’t want to get buoyed by those victories. “The women’s cricket is quite different than the men. We don’t know how Indonesia play and the only way out for us is to focus on our own game,” said Das. 

“We are well aware of our strength and weaknesses and plan our game accordingly. We’ve got certain plans as bowling and batting units which has so far worked for us. If we play to our potential, we should win tomorrow (Friday),” said Das adding he would not go with any experiment for the match.

Published: 18-01-2019 08:08

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