The women’s national cricket team today left for Thailand to participate in the 2019 ICC Women’s Qualifier Asia slated for February 18-27 in Bangkok.
A total of seven teams — Nepal, China, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates — will take part in the tournament. The winners of the tournament will earn berth for both Twenty20 and 50-over World Cup Qualifiers — 2019 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier and 2020 Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier. All the matches of the tournament will be played as T20 Internationals.
Nepal will open the campaign with a match against Malaysia on February 19 at the Terdthai Cricket Ground before facing hosts Thailand at the Asian Institute of Technology Ground two days later. Nepal will then face the UAE on February 22, while they play against Hong Kong two days later. Nepal will take on China on February 25 and face Kuwait on February 27.
Nepal had finished as runners-up in the Women’s Twenty20 Smash in Thailand last month and skipper Rubina Chhetry Belbashi said the team was geared up to go one step ahead and win the title along with berths in the World Cup qualifiers.
“We were playing in the final of the tournament for the first time in two years when we faced Thailand in January,” said Chhetry Belbashi. “And I think psychological weakness was the reason behind that loss. We have done enough home work for the tournament and I am confident of winning the tournament and making the nation proud one more time,” she said.
Head coach Binod Das said the team was ready for the event. “Our target in Thailand is to win the tournament and I believe the team is capable of doing so,” said Das. “The tournament is very important one for the team and the country as it serves as the qualifiers for both T20 and 50-over World Cups. As a coach I have put in my best efforts in training and I am satisfied with the players’ improvement,” he added.
Sita Rana Magar is the Vice-captain of the team that includes Karuna Bhandari, Sarita Magar, Nery Thapa, Indu Barma, Sonu Khadka, Aarati Bidari, Kajal Shrestha, Roma Thapa, Kabita Kunwar, Apsari Begum, Mamta Kumari Chaudhary and Bindu Rawal. Four players — Ritu Kumari Kanujiya, Suman Bist, Anjali Chand and Dolly Bhatta — have been kept as reserves. Former skipper Neera Rajopadhyay is the assistant coach, while Amrita Paudel is the team manager and Sakuna Dani the physio.
National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista and national men’s team head coach Jagat Tamatta bade farewell to the team.