Region-I (Biratnagar) and Region-IV (Bhairahawa) entered the semi-finals of the Wai Wai Women’s U-19 National Cricket Tournament with one game in hand at the TU Stadium on Thursday.
Biratnagar underlined their title credentials with a 96-run hammering of Region-VIII (Pokhara), while Bhairahawa survived a late charge from Kabita Kunwar to edge Region-VI (Baitadi) by six runs.
Biratnagar and Bhairahawa both have four points on the board with Pokhara and Baitadi remaining winless in their first two games. The table toppers and bottom teams will meet each other on Friday.
Player-of-the-match Indu Barma put an allround performance in Bhairahawa’s slim victory. Bhairahawa were 36-2 after they lost opener Barsha Rana (four) and Nitu Bhandari (six) after 7.5 overs.
Another opener Pratikshya Bashyal and Aakshya Gurung then anchored Bhairahawa innings with a 33-run partnership for the third wicket. Indu then stepped in and added 36 runs with Aakshya and 20 with Soniya Poudel (three) before running herself out in the last ball of the innings.
Pratikshya made 27 off 38, while Indu top scored in the match with 29 off 36 that included two hits to the fence. Aakshya also hit two boundaries in her 37-ball 23. Four Bhairahawa batswomen were run out with Hema Ayer being the only wicket taker for Baitadi — who conceded 33 extras.
Indu then returned to pick up three crucial wickets that saw Baitadi restricted to 119-8 in 25 overs. Indu gave Bhairahawa the early breakthrough bowling out Bindu Rawal (naught).
Soniya then took two wickets and affected one run out to leave Baitadi reeling at 38-4. Baitadi were hit further hard when Saiyya Gurung’s dismissal of Anjali Chand reduced them to 48-5.
Set batswoman Sonu Khadka was next to go as Bhairahawa sniffed vitory with Baitadi on dire straits at 69-6.
However, Chetana Bohora and Kabita revived Baitadi hopes adding 46 runs for the seventh wicket that took their team to a sensational victory. Baitadi needed 11 runs from the last over with set Chetana and Baitadi still at the crease.
Indu marked her day removing Kabita and new women Manisha Sodari to halt Baitadi progress. Kabita made 22 off 16 with two boundaries, while Chetana was left stranded on 16 off 24. Sonu made 22 off 26.
Earlier, tournament’s first and so far the only unbeaten half century from Kabita Shrestha helped Biratnagar pile a mammoth 155/6 in 25 overs. Biratnagar’s huge total was also bolstered by 54 extra runs conceded by Pokhara — who in reply were bundled out for just 59 in 19.3 overs.
Sapana Shrestha, Yanji Sherpa and Sangita Rai took two wickets each in a poor Pokhara batting scorecard that read no double figures except for 29 extras bowled by Biratnagar.
Earlier, Biratnagar were reduced to 6-2 after 2.2 overs but Kajol and Sangita steadied the ship adding 55 runs for the third wicket. Sangita made 26 off 30 with one boundary. Roma Thapa (three) and Geeta Prasai (four) accompanied Kabita for a while before both departed.
Kabita then added another 42 runs with Roasana Rai taking Biratnagar close to 150-run mark. Rosana made 15 off 22 with one boundary. Kabita carried her bat making 52 off 64 balls with three boundaries.
Pragya Pokharel took two wickets for Pokhara, while Prava Nepali, Aarya Aryal and Nitu Shrestha had one scalp apiece.