Nepal skipper Rubina Chhetri bagged three wickets and scored 31 runs while rescuing Nepal from stage of 38/4, as Nepal chased Bhutan’s 104 run target with 5 wickets in hand and nearly 14 overs to spare. This is Nepal’s second victory in the tournament.
Nepal won the toss and inserted Bhutan, new ball bowlers Rubina Chhetry and Sonu Khadka shook off the rust of their first match and the disappointment of their loss to Thailand yesterday and bowled very well. Sonu Khadka was back to her feisty best and Bhutan were forced on the defensive. Yeshey Choden labored for 24 balls for 2, and had Sonu Khadka held a dolly from Sonam Peldon in her follow through, second ball of Peldon’s innings, Bhutan would have been 9 for 3 in the ninth over. Sonu Khadka got the ball to rise off a length, all the more creditable for someone as short as she is, and fired the ball in at pace wicket-to-wicket. She bowled her eight overs for just five runs, picking up two wickets. With support from the other bowlers and the field, Nepal had Bhutan dangling from a long rope, not climbing, just hanging.
Dechen Wangmo played a cover drive of such exquisiteness to the boundary, it will stay long in the minds of all who saw it, yet again she frustrated with her inability to play the ball for singles and once she was out for 13, with Bhutan at 50 for 6 after 27 overs, Nepal were well on top.
And then Bhutan hit the positive switch.
Sonam Choden and Yeshey Wangmo took singles where before the rest hadn’t dared and bossed and swatted and hustled a 50-partnership in 13 overs that took Bhutan to a competitive 103.
Nepal’s game plan too was evidently one of initial defense too, Bhutan’s bowlers attacked. There were two slips and a gully for seamers Anju Gurung and Tshering Wangmo and with the wicket quickening up under the hot sun, there was plenty of bounce for them. The early breakthrough came when Rekha Rawal was bowled by Anju Gurung, and then Sarita Magar fell for 1. Neera Rajopadhyay, after being dropped at gully was run out for 4 and then Sita Magar, after batting for nearly an hour fell for 8. 37 for 4 and Bhutan in the ascendant.
The change bowlers didn’t threaten as much as Anju and Tshering and Mamta Thapa and Rubina Chhetry were able to rebuild the Nepal innings. Anju Gurung came back on in the 18th over, with the score on 58 and dropped a most catchable drive from Rubina in her follow-through. Turning point. The next ball was glanced for 4.
Mamta Thapa fell with the score on 74 in the 20th over but then all Nepal had to do was capitalize on a tiring attack. Chances came and went, Dechen Wangmo turned her leg-breaks well but Bhutan didn’t have enough runs on the board.