Nepal APF Club cruised to the semi-finals of the Women’s National Cricket Tournament on Wednesday crushing Region No 6 (Baitadi) by 98 runs at the TU Stadium.
In another match at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds, Region No 7 (Janakpur) defeated Region No 1 (Biratnagar) by 32 runs that strengthened their chances of following Group ‘A’ winners APF in the last four.
Following their fourth win in a row, APF have eight points and Janakpur are on four from three with one match against Baitadi (on Thursday) in their hand. If Janakpur win, Baitadi and Biratnagar will be knocked out. But if Janakpur lose, Biratnagar and Baitadi can fancy their chances on net run rate winning their respective final group stage encounters.
APF today made 194-9 after suffering a mini collapse in the middle of their innings. Almost all APF bowlers used in the day delivered as Baitadi were sent packing for 94 all out in 37 overs. The only positive for Baitadi in the match was a 19-run partnership for the ninth wicket between Chetna Bohora (nine) and Sunita Lohar.
Sunita made 16 off 24 with two boundaries. Janaki Bhatta (14), Kabita Kunwar (12) and Anjali Chand (12) were others to cross double figures. Rubina Chhetri and Binu Budhamagar took two wickets each for APF. Sonu Khadka, Sita Rana Magar, Karuna Bhandari and Ritu Kanojiya had one scalp apiece, while Sarita Magar was the only bowler to go wicketless.
APF innings began on a positive note when Jyoti Pandey and opener Madhu Thapa (12) gave them a 40-run stand for the second wicket. Jyoti added another 47 runs with player-of-the-match Rubina only to see them reduced to 102-5 in a space of seven runs after Aasha Saki took three wickets.
Jyoti made 36 off 49 with four boundaries, while current national team skipper Rubina was in full flow in her six boundaries to make 30 off 34. Sarita and Binu then recovered APF collecting 52 runs.
Binu made 25 off 26 and Sarita made 38 off 51. Sarita added another 25 with Ritu (eight) as APF neared 200-run mark. Aasha finished with 4-41 from seven overs.
Janakapur, meanwhile, rode on three big partnerships with opener Shobha Aale involved in two of them to make 169-5 in 40 overs. Biratnagar had a decent start with openers Kajol Shrestha and Sanjana Budhathoki (11) adding 51 runs but they were 137 all out in 37.2 overs.
Player-of-the-match Anuradha Chaudhary was crucial in Janakpur’s victory as she picked up four of the first five Biratnagar wickets to fall. Kajol posted a match-high 39 but went on to consume 70 deliveries hitting two boundaries.
Roshana Rai made 24 not out to offer a late resistance but that was not enough. Earlier, Sobha shared 64 runs for the first wicket with Shanti Chaudhary (21) and 42 for the second with Anuradha (three) but Rashmi Sharma halted the proceedings picking up three top order wickets.
Mamta Chaudhary and Roji Kadari (20 not out) took Janakpur to 169 with a 51-run unbeaten stand for the sixth wicket. Shobha’s 92-ball 38 included two fours and Mamta collected quick runs making 37 off 35 with four boundaries. Roji also hit two boundaries in 19 balls.