Nepal win ACC Under-19 Women's Championship
The 2008 non-test calendar came to an end yesterday with the final day's play in the ACC Under-19 Women's Championship in Thailand. The tournament, reduced to eleven teams after Iran pulled out at the last minute, saw Nepal emerge as champions after 11 days play.
The all too often occurrence of low scores and lots of extras that seems to plague women's cricket at this level reared its head in this tournament, with only three individual innings above 50 being scored in 32 matches - two of them by Kuwait's Siobhan Gomez.
The group stages saw Hong Kong and Thailand top of Group A and Nepal and Malaysia top of Group B. Nepal were the only unbeaten team. China, who actually showed some promise with their senior women's team last year, lost all five of their matches, the nadir being a ten wicket defeat by Malaysia that saw them bowled out for just 21.
Questions will again be raised over China's development programme, with this performance coming quickly on the heels of the Under-17 men's team's debacle last month. The pressure will really be on the men's senior team when they make their debut next month.
Monday saw the semi-finals and two play-off matches. Qatar beat Bhutan by 38 runs to secure fifth place, and Kuwait beat Oman by 84 runs to secure ninth place. The afore-mentioned Siobhan Gomez scored 65 in that match - the tournament's top score.
The semi-finals saw Nepal ease to an 83 run win over hosts Thailand and Malaysia beat Hong Kong by 2 runs in a very close match.
Yesterday's play-off matches saw Thailand beat Hong Kong by 3 wickets to secure third place and the UAE beat Singapore by 17 runs to finish seventh.
In the final between Malaysia and Nepal, Malaysia were put into bat by Nepal. They crashed to 45 all out - 30 of which came in extras - with Sonu Khadka the pick of the Nepali bowlers with 3/9. Nepal eased to their target in the twelfth over for the loss of three wickets.