KATHMANDU, Jan 30: Nepal´s dream of playing in the final of ACC Women´s Championship came to an end on Wednesday as the Nepali team collapsed to its lowest ever total in the semifinal against Thailand at the Prem Oval in Thailand.
Thailand pulled off an emphatic seven-wicket victory after skittling Nepal out for a paltry 38 runs. Chanida Sutthiruang´s magical bowling exposed the weaknesses of Nepali batswomen as she claimed five wickets.
Player-of-the-match Sutthiruang bowled five overs including three maiden overs and gave away only two runs. Two Nepali batswomen were run out while Nattakan Chantham, Nattaya Boochatham and Rattana Sangsoma took a wicket each to bundle out Nepal.
Sita Magar (7 runs off 19 balls) and Karuna Bhandari (4 runs off 12 balls) were the highest scorers for Nepal. None of the Nepali batswomen was able to anchor the innings. The eight-run partnership between Nary Thapa (1 run) and Sita Magar for the fourth wicket was the highest of the innings.
Nepal´s total of 38 runs included 11 extras.
It was the Nepali women´s team´s lowest ever total. Nepal´s earlier lowest total was 45 runs against Bangladesh during the ACC Women´s T20 Asia Cup 2012.
Nepal was restricted to 26/8 in the final of ACC Women´s Tournament 2007 against Bangladesh but it is not counted as the lowest total as Nepal was not all out and the 30-over match was reduced to 18 overs due to rain.
Thailand easily chased the target in 12 overs losing three wickets. Pundarika Prathanmitr scored unbeaten 18 runs off 46 balls. Nepali captain Rubina Chhetri claimed two wickets and Sita Magar was involved in a runout but Sirintra Saengsakaorat (unbeaten five runs) supported Prathanmitr to seal a seven-wicket victory for Thailand.
The defeat has also ended Nepal´s dream of playing in the Women´s World T20. Only the winner of the ongoing tournament will qualify for the ICC Women´s World T20 Qualifiers.
China thrashed Hong Kong by 86 runs in the other semifinal held on Wednesday. China put up 158/2 in 25 overs as Zhang Mei scored an unbeaten 85 runs. China then bowled out Hong Kong for 72 runs in 24.1 overs.
Thailand will take on China in the final on Thursday while Nepal will lock horns with Hong Kong in the third place play-off.