KATHMANDU, Jan 27: Nepal confirmed a semifinal spot along with Hong Kong in the ACC Women´s Championship on Sunday.
Nepal defeated Malaysia by seven wickets at Royal Chiang Mai, Thailand while Hong Kong pulled off a thrilling 16-run victory over Bhutan to advance into the semifinals from Pool A of the tournament.
Nepal and Hong Kong both have remained unbeaten in the group stage and collected six points each from three matches. However, Nepal currently leads the points table on the basis of superior net run rate. Bhutan has two points from three matches in the pool that includes five teams.
China and Thailand have qualified for the semifinals from Pool B with four consecutive wins each. The top two teams of both the pools will play each other on Monday to decide the group winners and their semifinal opponents. The semifinals are scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
Player-of-the-match Sarita Magar came up with an all-round performance against Malaysia to seal an easy victory for Nepal.
Malaysia elected to bat but could make only 65/8 in the allotted 25 overs as Magar and Nepali captain Rubina Chhetri dismissed two batswomen each. Magar was involved in a runout too. Meanwhile, Karuna Bhandari and Neera Rajopadhyaya claimed a wicket each to restrict Malaysia to a low score.
Malaysia opener Emylia Rahim was the top scorer of the innings with 21 runs off 60 balls. Rahim put up a 21-run partnership with Arina Rahim (6 runs) for the third wicket and a 24-run stand with Hasliza Hamzah (6 runs) for the seventh wicket. Rewina Mohammad scored 8 runs for Malaysia.
In reply, Nepal met the target in 11.3 overs losing three wickets. Openers Madhu Thapa (16 runs off 19 balls) and Sita Magar put up a 30-run partnership for the first wicket. Thapa was dismissed by Winfred Duraisingam in the fourth ball of the fifth over. Nepal lost Roshani Bohara (1 run) in the next over off Nur Syazwina but Sarita Magar joined Sita Magar on the crease and they put up a 12-run partnership for the third wicket. Sita was dismissed by Jannadiah Halim in the fourth ball off the 10th over after scoring 10 runs off 27 balls.
Sarita (9 runs off 14 balls) and Nary Thapa (10 runs off five balls) then guided Nepal to victory with an unbeaten 20-run partnership.
In the other match, Hong Kong recovered from a shaky 18/6 against Bhutan at the Prem Oval to reach 105 for 7. Hong Kong then restricted the opposition to 89/8 to register a 16-run victory.