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Nepal qualify for Asia Cup

Nepal gained back reputation qualifying for the 2016 Women’s Asia Cup defeating China by four wickets in their final league match of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifying Series for Asia Region on Saturday. 

Having lost an opportunity to qualify for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup Global Qualifier, Nepal waited for a favor from table topper Thailand after their victory over China. Thailand did benefit Nepal beating Hong Kong by four wickets as Nepal finished runners-up in the table to qualify for November 25 to December 5 event in Thailand.

Thailand, who had already qualified for the 2017 Qualifiers, finished with 10 points from six games ahead of Nepal (six points). China and Hong Kong ended up third and fourth in the table on net run rate after both teams were tied on four points each.

China, who won the toss, were restricted to 85-7 in 20 overs despite getting a modest 42-run start from their openers. Nepal had lost the toss for the first time in the tournament and it hardly mattered as they reached 88-6 in 17.3 overs.

Nepal had a contrasting start losing opener Jyoti Pandey (three) and Nirmala Shahi (two) with 10 runs on the board. But another opener Sita Rana Magar kept the team on chase with a 25-run partnership for the third wicket with Indu Verma, who made 10 off 21 with one boundary.

Sita made 20 off 24 with one hit to the fence and she also forged a 19-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Nary Thapa. Nary made 22 off 27 with one boundary before she fell in the 17th over with Nepal needing just seven runs to win. Skipper Rubina Chhetri completed the chase making an unbeaten nine-ball 13 with three boundaries.

Earlier, Fengfeng Song and Zou Miao (18) gave China a perfect start as Nepal needed Nirmal Shahi to provide the breakthrough in the 12th over. Nirmala had Miao stumped by Jyoti for a dismissal that halted the Chinese charge.

Rubina picked up two wickets in the middle order and Karuna Bhandari also had one scalp as China struggled in the end of their innings. Opener Song made 34 but conceded 62 deliveries without hitting a boundary. Their only two boundaries of the game came from Chai Yudia (10). 

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