Region No-VI (Baitadi) returned with a face saving two-wicket loss to defending champions Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club to enter the semi-finals of the Women’s National at the TU Stadium on Monday.
Baitadi – who were tied on four points with Region No-II (Birgunj) before the match – but were in a danger of being eliminated had they lost the match by a huge margin. The huge-margin defeat looked seemingly possible when Baitadi were bundled out for just 91 runs in 35.5 overs.
However, Baitadi bowlers put on a valiant effort before APF survived what could have been a humiliation considering their star-studded side reaching 94-8 in 26.2 overs. Baitadi edged Birgunj on net run rate and APF finished Group winners with eight points from four matches.
APF lost opener Madhu Thapa (naught) to Rekha Rawal with the team yet to open the account. Sita Rana Magar and Jyoti Pandey then shared 48-run partnership suggesting it was going to be yet another casual walk on the park but Baitadi fought back.
After the run out of Pandey for a run-a-ball 20 that included two boundaries, Anjali Chand bowled Sarita Magar (five). Six runs later, a terrible collapse ensued as APF lost their five wickets for just eight runs beginning with a caught and bowled dismissal of Sita off Rekha.
Sita top scored in the game with 38 off 51 with six boundaries. As Baitadi sniffed victory, Binu Budha Magar (nine) and Neema Tamang (four) held their nerves to take the team through. Rekha picked up 4-23 and Anjali had 3-21 from their eight-over spells.
Earlier, Baitadi kept losing wickets at regular intervals against a strong APF bowling attack. No 7 batswoman Kabita Kunwar was their leading scorer making 18 off 41 with three boundaries. Opener Dropati Kuwnar (11) and Samjhana Khadka (11) were the remaining batswomen to make runs in double figures.
Binu picked up 2-17 from eight overs with Ritu Kanojiya, Rubina Chhetri, Sita and Sarita picking up a wicket each. APF will now play Group ‘B’ runners-up for a place in the final.