Nepal crashed to a shock six-wicket defeat to Hong Kong for a defeat that could dent their aspirations of making a maiden appearance in the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier.
In the Asia Region Qualifier, Nepali overcame early jitters to reach a modest 104-3 in 20 overs. Nepal were expected to defend the total but experience Hong Kong batswoman Mariko Hill defied the Nepali bowling attack guiding her side to 105-4 with 12 balls to spare.
Since only the table toppers are guaranteed a spot in the Global Qualifier after a single round robin league, the defeat could be massive blow for Nepal who also have to brush aside another par-side UAE and see how other teams fare.
Kabita Kunwar gave Nepal a desired start removing Yasman Daswani with Hong Kong adding just three runs on the board. Natasha Miles struck three fours in her 13-ball 16 and captain Kary Chan chipped in vital 17 runs to keep Hong Kong in the game.
A run out of Shanzeen Shahazad (seven) reduced Hong Kong to 79-4 by the 15th over but Hill made sure her side doesn’t buckle under pressure. She added a match-winning 25-run stand for the fifth wicket with Emma Lai (14) as Hong Kong registered a crucial victory.
Hill hit four boundaries in her gritty 38-ball 42 not out. Sita Rana Magar and Sabnam Rai also took a wicket each for Nepal.
Earlier, Nepal lost opener Kabita in the second ball as they failed to negotiate in the powerplay. Kajal Shrestha made a painstaking 23-ball four and when she was dismissed, Nepal just had 21 runs on the board in 8 overs.
Another opener Sita and Indu Barma added 81 runs for the third wicket to consolidate the Nepali innings. Sita top scored with a 58-ball 40 not out hitting three boundaries and Indu’s 37-ball 31 included three hits to the fence.
Nepal next play Bhutan in their second match on Tuesday. In another match, UAE defeated Malaysia by 30 runs.