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Baitadi almost through to semi-finals

Region No 6 (Baitadi) gained an advantage in their Women’s National Cricket Tournament semi-finals with a seven-wicket victory over Region No 7 (Janakpur) in a crucial Group ‘A’ match at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds on Thursday.

With Nepal APF Club already winning their group, Baitadi – a team that set eight records against Region-VIII (Pokhara) – were under deep trouble languishing at the third spot with two points. But following Thursday’s result, they not only knocked out Janakpur to go second on net run rate but also put their one foot in the semi-finals. Baitadi and Janakpur have four points each.

Baitadi are almost through to the last four but will still wait for Friday’s result between Region No 1 Biratnagar and Pokhara. Biratagar have a negative run rate and to get the better of Baitadi, they need to come out with huge victory. Winless Pokhara have already been hit for more than a dozen of records in the tournament.

At the TU Stadium in Group ‘B’ newly established Region No 9 (Kanchanpur) kept their slim hopes defeating Region No 2 (Birgunj) by 30 runs for their fourth straight loss. Kanchanpur registered their second and with a negative run rate, they have to come out with an unlikely huge victory against second-placed Kathmandu who have two points.

Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) are already through as group winners, while Kathmandu have four points so far enough to sideline Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) – also on four points – on net run rate.

In Pulchowk, a 60-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Sobha Ale and Anuradha Chaudhary spurred Janakpur to 147-7 in 40 overs. Opener Rekha Rawal carried the bat till the end with an unbeaten half century as Baitadi reached 150-3 in just 29.5 overs.

After Baitadi lost Dropati Kunwar (six), Rekha and Anjali Chand once again went for a big partnership with  70-run stand taking the team close to triple figures inside 22 overs. Anjali was out for 24 with Baitadi scores reading 96-2.

Ten runs later Baitadi lost Chetna Bohor (three) but Rekha continued to hold on the innings and shared an unbeaten 44 runs with Janaki Bhatta to hand her team the victory. Janaki made 32 off 23 with seven boundaries, while Rekha was 59 not out from 96 balls with nine fours.

Earlier, Shanti Chaudhary (one) departed earlier but Shobha and Anuradha resisted and owing to another modest innings from Kabita Gautam, reached to a respectable total. Sobha made 38 off 79 and Anuradha scored 28. Kabita made 31 from 57. All their top three scorers hit three boundaries each.

Janaki and Chetna picked up two wickets each for Baitadi. Rekha also had one scalp winning her the player-of-the-match reward.

Kanchapur rode on a solid 98-run stand for the first wicket between Bimala Bhatta and Nirmal Chand making 185-7 in 40 overs. Birgunj were 155 all out in an innings that had 55 extras including 46 wides.

Sita Shrestha top scored for Birgunj with a run-a-ball 46 hitting seven fours. Rabina Ghimire (18) was their next best scorer. Kabita Joshi took three wickets, while Bimala and Manisha Sodari had two scalps apiece.

Bimala and Nirmala’s opening stand was the major highlight in Kanchanpur innings. Bimala made 53 off 100 with six boundaries and Nirmala made 46 off 69 with three hits to the fence. Kabita also chipped in 23.

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