Nepal finished third in the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 Asia Qualifiers and failed to qualify further in Thailand due to rain washing out first two matches and a surprise loss.
Rain plays villain
On first day on November 20 at the TCG between Thailand and Nepal finished as a no-result after 3.4 overs of the second innings. Batting first, the Thai girls were given a stiff test by Nepal as they lost five wickets for 42 before recovering to 90 for six in their 20 overs thanks to an unbeaten 23 from Naruemol Chaiwai. The sky was darkening as Nepal started their chase and rain finally intervened after 3.4 overs with the score on 10 for no wicket. Players and officials remained at the ground but the chances of a resumption looked bleak and the umpires finally called off the match with both sides gaining one point.
On second day on November 22, the match between Hong Kong and Nepal was abandoned without a ball bowled.
A Surprise Loss
On Third day on November 23, UAE surprised Nepal by five runs. Nepal faced UAE at AIT. UAE were soon in trouble against the new ball as they were reduced to 10 for 4 as Rubina Chhetry and Ritu Kanoujiya both took two early wickets.Opener Esha Oza led the recovery with Natasha Cherriath who had first played for her country when she was 12 years old and after the Oza was out for 22 from 27 balls, Nisha Ali also batted well in a sixth-wicket stand of 37 as UAE made a determined 79 for 7 in 20 overs.
Nepal needed to bat sensibly to chase down a target of 80 but they were the higher ranked team and were favourites to win. UAE are a confident side and sensed they had a chance of victory when Nisha Ali took two wickets in the second over and Nary Thapa was then out first ball as Nepal slipped to 11 for 3.
Nepal are the more experienced side at this level and knew if they could build a partnership they could still win the match, but they lost wickets regularly as all Humairia Tasneem’s bowling changes seemed to bring a wicket The captain herself took two crucial wickets as she claimed 2 for 10 and Nisha Ali returned to bowl two economical overs to keep the pressure up.
The match still went down to the final over and Ritu Kanojiya was still capable of winning the match for Nepal as she had hit two boundaries and was on strike with 10 needed from the last six balls. She hit a two from the first ball and kept the strike even though a wicket was lost to a run out.
Tasneem then dropped a catch as she stretched at mid-wicket but the number 11 could not score from the last three balls as Nepal finished on 74 for 9. UAE had beaten the fancied Nepal side by five runs and Nisha Ali was named player of the match for her 17 runs and figures of two for 10. Nepal are still looking for their first win of the tournament but UAE now stand in third place on four points after winning two matches out of three.
Victory Against Malaysia and China
Nepal put the disappointment of UAE defeat behind them to gain their first victory of the tournament as they beat Malaysia by 33 runs at AIT on November 24.
Sita Magar hit 37 from 42 balls to help her side reach an impressive total of 108 for 6 and although Malaysia built a solid platform thanks to the efforts of opener Emylia Eliani who made a determined 24 from 40 balls but the Malaysian middle-order could not keep up with a required rate that soon headed above eight runs per over. Malaysia finished on 75 for 7 and Nepal moved into fourth place in the table on four points and are still well in contention to reach the third place play-off.
On November 26, Nepal defeated China by 50 runs at AIT. China had done well in the field for most of Nepal’s innings but Rubina Chhetry saw her side through to a total of 102 for 8 with a cameo of 18* from 14 balls in the final overs. Zhang Xiangxue took 3 for 19 but China couldn’t get close to the target once the consistent Zhou Caiyun was out for 10.
Player of the match Sabnam Rai took 3 for 7 and Rubina Chhetry 3 for 11 as China were bowled out for 52 in 18.2 overs. Nepal finished ahead of Hong Kong in third place while Malaysia were fifth and China sixth.
Nepal Wins Third-Place Playoff
The play-off for third place was contested between Nepal who had finished third in the table and Hong Kong who finished fourth and it was Nepal who took the honours as they claimed a comfortable victory by 36 runs. Nepal gained some consolation for missing out on reaching the after suffering defeat to UAE by only five runs.
Hong Kong won the toss and elected to field and the move seemed to have paid dividends as captain Mariko Hill, who had taken 3 for 17 the previous day against Thailand, claimed the wickets of both openers, Jyoti Pandey and Sita Magar. Left-hander Nary Thapa came to the crease at a precarious position of 7 for 2 but was soon into her stride and found useful support from Kujal Shrestra as the score reached 37 for 2 after 10 overs.
Shrestra was out soon afterwards but Thapa continued in fine fashion as she hit five boundaries in her 38 from 34 balls. Karuna Bhandari and Rubina Chhetry batted well at the end of the innings to score 22 in the last three overs so Nepal would have been confident of defending a total of 94 for 5. Hong Kong struggled from the start and Bhandari took the most important wicket when she dismissed Mariko Hill who had made 48 in an earlier match.
Wickets fell regularly and Bhandari returned the best figures with 3 for 10 in her 4 overs and there were three run outs as Hong Kong’s lower order found run-scoring a difficult proposition. Hong Kong were bowled out for 58 from 19.5 overs as Nepal showed what might have been with an impressive victory by 36 runs.