Region No-VII (Janakpur) defended a low total to enter the semi-finals of the Women’s National Cricket Tournament on Tuesday.
In their final Group ‘B’ match, Janakpur edged Region No-V (Nepalgunj) by 10 runs despite being bundled out for a lowly 118 in 38.5 overs. Nepalgunj were 108 all out in 32.5 overs. In another match, Region No-I (Biratnagar) eased past Region No-III (Kathmandu) by 43 runs to remain in hunt for the semi-finals.
Janakpur finished group winners with eight points from maximum four matches and they will now meet Group ‘A’ runners-up Region No-6 Baitadi in the last four. The final league matches on Wednesday will decide the last available semi-final berth with Nepalgunj, Biratnagar and Kathmandu all in the hunt. Biratnagar will take on already crashed out Region No-IX (Dhangadi) and Nepalgunj will meet Kathmandu.
Nepalgunj have four points from three matches and a victory for them will shut down the chances for Biratnagar, who are tied on two points with Kathmandu, irrespective of their results in the match against Dhangadi. If Nepalgunj lose to Kathmandu, Biratnagar need to make sure that they win their last game with healthy run rate.
At the TU grounds, Janakpur had opener Sobha Ale contributing runs from the top order with 23 off 53 with one boundary. However, they were reduced to 65-5 in 20.5 overs. Saraswati Chaudhary and Urmila Chaudhary (11) resisted for a while with a 43-run stand for the sixth wicket before Pratikshya GM dismissed both batswomen in a single over to resumed the collapse.
Janakpur lost their last five wickets for just 10 runs after GM picked up 4-11 from six overs. Saraswati made 28 off 48 with two boundaries and Mamta Chaudhary (19) was Janakpur’s next best scorer. Anu KC also picked up two wickets.
Gita Goshai (14) and Sanju Chaudhary (nine) gave Nepalgunj a modest start with 25-run opening wicket partnership but Nepalgunj never settled in their chase once Santoshi Chaudhary bowled Sanju. No 7 Trishna Singh top scored with 17 off 25 hitting two boundaries for Nepalgunj, while skipper Mamta Thapa remained unbeaten on 15 off 30 with two fours.
Shanti Chaudhary (3-18) and player of the match Mamta (3-22) shared six wickets between them for Janakpur with Santoshi also picking up two wickets.
At the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds, Biratnagar rode on an unbeaten half century from Sangita Rai to make 200-8 in 40 overs after electing to bat first. Kathmandu were 157 all out in 38.1 overs. Kathmandu were quickly reduced to 25-3 in 8.1 overs but Sangeeta Gauchan and Rabina Bhandari kept them in the chase with a 57-run stand.
Kathmandu soon lost their four wickets for 28 runs with the departures of both set batswomen along with Sushma Shrestha (duck) and Sandhya Uprety (one) virtually ending their chance in the match. Geeta Chudal and Kamala Rai (12) only prolonged Biratnagar’s wait for victory with a 27-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
Geeta top scored with 29 off 52 with three boundaries and Rabina slammed five fours in her 28 off 40. Gauchan made 22 off 56. Kathmandu innings had five run outs with Ankita Rai picking up 2-18 from eight overs for Biratnagar.
Earlier, opener Kajol Shrestha made 26 off 38 with three fours and No 3 Sanjana Budhathoki collected 25 off 31 with four hits to the fence but Biratnagar were reeling at 90-5 in 21.3 overs. Sangita then shared a match-winning 85-run partnership with Apsari Begam to put Biratnagar in a strong position.
Sangita clobbered 10 boundaries in her 83-ball 80 not out and Apsari scored 33 off 43 with two fours. Geeta Chudhal picked up 3-42 and Kamala took 2-19 for Kathmandu.