The second day of the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier 2019 was an exciting one as three more matches were played in the regional qualifying tournament.
The highlight of the day was an exciting match between Hong Kong and China at TCG with the Chinese team ending a run of defeats in recent matches to win by one wicket. UAE lived up to their reputation as one of the tournament favourites, amassing a total of 145/5 against Kuwait at AIT as they won by 86 runs to stand on top of the table after the second day of action.
The second day of the Qualifier 2019 got underway with Nepal taking on Malaysia at TCG. Nepal were playing their first match of the competition and were looking to build on their fine performances in the T20 Smash that was held in Bangkok recently. Malaysia had a fine win over Kuwait in their opening match so it was set to be an interesting contest. Nepal won the toss and elected to bat first.
Nepal started well as openers Kajal Shreshta and Sita Rana Magar took the score to 40 at the end of the powerplay – but the first wicket fell with the score on 46 as Shrestha was caught behind for 16 from 29 balls. The team fifty came up in the ninth over and Nepal were looking well placed for a good score at 58/1 after 10 overs.
Nepal's second-wicket pair continued to bat impressively, scoring ones and twos off most balls – and number three Indu Barma was able to clear long-on when she attempted a big hit before being caught at mid-wicket when she tried to go big again. Nepal were 71/2 after 12 overs.
Rana Magar showed the benefits of hitting the ball on the ground as she unfurled a glorious cover drive. Nepal captain Rubina Chhetry was also able to find the boundary as she made a fast start to her innings, but Magar was bowled by Duraisingam for an excellent 42 to leave Nepal on 96/3 after 15 overs.
Nepal were helped by a number of dropped catches from Malaysia throughout their innings but despite a pair of run-outs towards the end they finished on an impressive 126/5 from their 20 overs. Chhetry finished unbeaten on 33 from 25 balls with three fours while Duraisingam and the Azmi sisters took a wicket apiece.
Malaysia made a poor start in their attempt to reach the target, as opener Yusrina Yaakop was bowled by the first ball of the second over as Kabita Kunwar got her direction exactly right. Elsa Siow Tzin Yee came to the wicket fresh from her excellent unbeaten 42 against Kuwait but she was soon run out as Duraisingam called her through for a single. Malaysia were 24/2 at the end of the powerplay. Captain Duraisingam and keeper Baret were putting together a useful partnership as Malaysia reached 52 at the halfway stage, 75 runs short of victory.
Karuna Bhandari bowled an accurate over of off-spin with the result that she had Baret caught and bowled for 21 from 29 balls, and Duraisingam followed from the first ball of her next over as she was bowled for 18 from 30. Mas Elysa was Player of the Match against Kuwait for a fine all-round performance but it wasn’t to be her day this time round. Bhandari finished with figures of 2/15 and Sarita Magar came on to have Elysa stumped as Malaysia were 68 for 5 after 15 overs.
Malaysia couldn't quite keep up with a stiff run-rate towards the end of their innings. Sita Rana Magar, who was declared Player of the Match, had figures of 1/17 to add to her fine innings, while Sarita Magar finished with figures of 2/12. Malaysia were 92/7 at the end of their 20 overs as Nepal were impressive winners by 34 runs.
Hong Kong faced China in the afternoon match at TCG. Both sides lost their opening matches as China were beaten by Thailand by six wickets and Hong Kong lost to UAE by 21 runs. Nonetheless, both teams had been impressive in the field in their opening matches. with China making Thailand to fight all the way for their victory, while Hong Kong restricted UAE to a total of 106/8.
China won the toss and chose to field first and were rewarded with an early wicket as they made Hong Kong work for their runs in the powerplay. Hong Kong were 22/1 after six overs. Hong Kong found scoring early runs difficult in their previous match with the result being that they only scored 85 in 20 overs against UAE and the same situation occurred with the top-order players unable to find the boundary against the accurate Chinese attack.
Hong Kong were 35/1 after 10 overs. They lost their second wicket when Yasmin Daswani was bowled by leg-spinner Han Lili for 12 from 27 balls after a partnership of 35 with Yee San To.
Hong Kong's number three had begun to find her feet and to have the confidence to strike out. She hit two fours and played other shots that stopped just short of the boundary. She was run out for 37 from 44 balls but she brought Hong Kong well on the way to a good total when she was third out with the score on 75 in the 17th over. She was run out attempting a third run and Mariko Hill was also run out, while useful left-hander Kary Chan was bowled next ball.
Late wickets often cut short a good score and China were being rewarded for some tidy bowling and excellent fielding as three more wickets fell in the 19th over. Hong Kong finished on 86/8 – only one more run than they managed against UAE.
Hong Kong had been unable to raise the tempo of their innings – hitting only two boundaries in 20 overs, but China looked to have no such problems as they went for their shots from the start. The problem for China was that they are also losing wickets at a fast pace. At the end of the powerplay China were already 33/4, albeit with a very healthy run-rate.
China lost their fourth wicket with the score only on 27 when captain Huang Zhuo was joined by Zhang Mei and the over-ambitious hitting suddenly came to an end, with the two players concentrated on building a partnership. The score mounted steadily but without unnecessary risks and China reached 55/4 after 10 overs. The pair were content to wait for the bad balls and were able to rotate the strike.
The next five overs only brought 12 more runs but crucially no more wickets were lost. China needed 16 runs from the last five overs. One fairly simple catch was dropped and the ball just cleared the fielders a couple of times but it was a surprise when Zhang was suddenly bowled by Yee Shan To for 23 with the score on 76. One wicket often brings two and Han Lili was stumped two runs later as China needed nine runs from the last three overs, with Huang still at the crease.
After Wu Juan hit Mariko Hill to cover to leave China seven down, Huang felt the extra pressure of needing to guide her side to victory on her own, and she was out stumped off Yee Shan To who was having quite a day.
Four runs were needed from the last over to be bowled by Betty Chan. Two singles came but Wang Meng was then out lbw. Three balls, two runs to win and one wicket left. A dot ball and then number 11 Zhang Xiangxue hit the ball over mid-wicket.
A run out would have led to a Super Over, but a second run was completed as China won by one wicket with one ball left. It was a fantastic match that has lit up the tournament and will bring back cricketing hope for China.
In the third match of the day UAE were playing Kuwait at AIT. UAE posted an excellent score after choosing to bat first as they reached 145/5 in their 20 overs. UAE got off to a good start thanks to Esha Osha (41) and Kavisha Egodage (36) and there were also useful contributions from Chamani Seneviratne and Udeni Dona as UAE made the highest total in the competition so far. Amna Tariq took two wickets but Kuwait had a lot of running to do in the field having already lost the services of Sabreen Zaki through injury.
Kuwait have discovered the step up in class of playing stronger teams in their first ICC competition. They had already conceded 145 runs in 20 overs in the field but may have thought their batting effort was a promising one when they reached 46/1 in the 10th over, with the top three all spending time at the crease.
It wasn't to be as the last nine wickets fell for 13 runs and Kuwait were dismissed for 59 as Chamani Seneviratne took five wickets for three runs in her four overs, and UAE won by 86 runs to sit at the top of the table after two days with four points from two matches after wins against Hong Kong and Kuwait. Sterner tests will follow but it has been an impressive start to the competition from UAE. The competition continues on Thursday.
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