Nepal vaulted back to contention for the Women’s World Cup Qualifier for next year registering an important six-run victory over Hong Kong on Thursday in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifying Series for Asia Region.
Karuna Bhandari was the architect of Nepal’s victory picking up three crucial wickets to bundle out Hong Kong for just 69 runs in 17.4 overs in defense of 75-8 in 20 overs. Karuna had also pushed Nepal to a competitive total chipping in a crucial 19 not out.
After losing their first two matches – against Hong Kong and Thailand – in the first leg of the double round robin league, Nepal bounced back with victory over China and the win on Thursday against Hong Kong has opened up them chance to be in the top spot that will guarantee the only available spot for the 2017 Global Qualifiers.
Nepal now have four points from four matches in the table and victories against Thailand and China will help them go through provided the run rate fall into their favour. Thailand, who were stunned by China on Thursday, lead the table with six points from four games and Hong Kong (four points) are second on net run rate. It was China’s first victory in the tournament.
Nepal didn’t have best contributors up front reeling at 9-3 before Indu Verma (15), Jyoti Pandey (11) and Nary Thapa (10) crossing double digits. Karuna came in to bat at No 8 and hit two boundaries in her 27-ball innings that pushed the team towards a respectable total.
Hong Kong were on track at 33-1 before the fall of their set batswoman Kary Chan to Nirmala Shahi sparked a terrible collapse. Karuna dismissed another set player Keenu Gill (10) to break the backbone of Hong Kong batting. Chan made 18 off 22 with a four.
Karuna, unused for Nepal’s three previous games, took 3-17 from four overs and Sita Rana Magar had the figures of 2-15 from her four. Rubina Chhetri and Sabnam Rai also picked up a wicket each for Nepal.