Nepal is one of the 11 teams participating in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifiers, set to be held in Malaysia from 28th August to 6th September. 11 teams are split into two groups. Group A includes Nepal, UAE, Qatar, Bhutan, Malaysia and Bahrain while Group B contains China, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand and Kuwait. The champion and the runner-up will make it to the main ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier which is scheduled to take place in early 2024.
The Cricket Association of Nepal announced the 24-member squad for the training camp comprising of Rubina Chhetri (c), Sita Rana Magar, Indu Barma, Apsari Begum, Kabita Kunwar, Kabita Joshi, Asmina Karmacharya, Ishwori Bista, Kritika Marasini, Bindu Rawal, Nery Thapa, Kajal Shrestha (wk), Saraswati Kumari, Sneha Mahara, Shristi Jaisi, Kanchan Shrestha, Roma Thapa, Sabnam Rai, Puja Mahato, Khushi Dangol, Manisha Chaudhary, Jyoti Pandey (wk), Rubi Poddar and Samjhana Khadka.
In comparison to the previous squad which played against Malaysia in May-June which Nepal won 3-2, Sangita Rai, Mamta Chaudhary and Sony Pakhrin are among the ones who have been left out. In the whole T20I series, only 3 sixes were hit, 2 from Captain Chhetry’s bat and 1 by Sita Rana Magar while none from any Malaysian batters, it says how nicely these two have improved their hitting abilities.
While defending a moderate total of 50 in the 2nd T20I against Malaysia, Rubina Chhetry registered an astonishing figure of 2 for 7 coming in a losing cause. While Rana Magar, Chhetry, and Barma were Nepal’s highest run scorers it was the quartet of Chhetry, Kunwar, Rana Magar, and Joshi who did most of the damage with the ball throughout the bilateral. The latest addition to the squad includes Nery Thapa, Sneha Mahara, Kanchan Shrestha, Roma Thapa, Sabnam Rai, Puja Mahato, Khushi Dangol, and Manisha Chaudhary.
Nepal also played the Emerging Asia Cup, they were on the verge of scripting history courtesy of a spirited performance from their bowlers who managed to terminate Pakistan A’s inning at 87-all out where Kunwar, Joshi, and Rana Magar picked 2 scalps each. But they felt just 9 runs short but irrespective of that, this match ignited a much-needed fire. A fire of self-confidence, a fire of fighting against a better side. Nepal’s remaining two matches of the competition were abandoned because of rain.
Sita Rana Magar is Nepal’s pinnacle performer with both bat and ball since she has scored 590 runs and has taken 35 wickets. Coming to the ICC T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier, apart from Rana Magar, the onus will also be on their captain Rubina Chhetry and Indu Barma to do the bulk of scoring. The pace trio of left armer Rana Magar and the right armers Kabita Kunwar and Rubina Chhetry will hope to dismantle the opposition’s top order.
Nepal’s first match will be against the host Malaysia on 31st August on Bayuemas Oval, Pandamaran.
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