Nepal beat Malaysia, barelyRubina Chhetry-led side post 84-6 and restrict the hosts at 79-9 in the inaugural match of the Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Region Qualifier.
Nepal registered a hard-fought, five-run victory over hosts Malaysia in the curtain raiser of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Region Qualifier at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday.
Sent into bat first, Nepal were off to a shaky start and posted 84-6 before restricting the home team to 79-9 in the allotted 20 overs.
Nepal’s top-order batters including opener Kajal Shrestha, Samjhana Khadka and Indu Barma were out for a duck as they lost three key batters in as many deliveries of the first over without opening score on the board. They were all dismissed in deliveries by Ainna Hamizah Hashim.
Sita Rana Magar, who came to open the innings along with Shrestha, contributed unbeaten 38 runs in her patient knock off 54 balls. Adjudged player-of-the-match, Rana Magar hit a single boundary.
Apsari Begam, who came to bat at number seven, was the second best scorer for Nepal contributing 17 runs off 38 that included a hit to the fence. Captain Rubina Chhetry scored 12 runs off 13 that comprised two hits to fences. Puja Mahato and Kabita Joshi scored five runs each with the latter remaining unbeaten.
Malaysian bowler Hashim grabbed two wickets in her four-over spell conceding 14 runs and pulled off a maiden over. Mahirah Izzati Ismail, Siya Eleesa and Nik Nur Atiela picked a wicket each.
In the run chase, Malaysia captain Winfred Duraisingam, who came to bat at number three, scored the innings’ best 28 runs off 39. She struck a boundary before Kabita Kunwar had her caught by captain Chhetry.
Opener Ainna Hamizah Hashim contributed 14 runs off 22 deliveries and Mas Elysa scored 10 runs off 14. Other Malaysian batters failed to touch double digit figures.
Nepal’s Kabita Kunwar and Kabita Joshi clinched two wickets each while Chhetry and Asmina Karmacharya accounted for a wicket each. Kunwar conceded 10 runs in her four-over spell and Joshi gave away five runs in her two-over bowling.
Nepal, drawn in Group ‘A’ along with Bahrain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia, Qatar and Bhutan, will meet Bahrain in their second match of the tournament on Friday. Group ‘B’ consists of Hong Kong, Kuwait, Thailand, China and Myanmar.
In another match of the group, the UAE registered a thumping nine-wicket victory over Bhutan after they bowled out the South Asian team for 32 runs in 15.4 overs and raced to victory in 3.4 overs scoring 33-1.
In yet another Group ‘A’ match, Bahrain earned a five-wicket victory over Qatar on the back of an unbeaten half century by captain Deepika Rasangika. The 39-year-old smashed 74 runs off 56 that included 11 hits to the fences as Bahrain scored 119-5 with 10 balls to spare after Qatar posed 116-7.
The top two sides from each group progress into the semi-finals and the finalists will be eligible for the global qualifiers of the 2024 Women's T20 World Cup.