An occasionally competitive Iran fell to a consistently competent Nepal on the opening day of the ACC Women’s Premier in Chiang Mai. Asked to bat first on a good wicket, Nepal took advantage of some wayward bowling by the Iranian ladies to post a massive 284 for 6 off 40 overs. But it could all have been so different had any one of the three chances which Sita Rana Magar gave in the first two overs stuck.

A player with the class and grace of Sita Rana Magar, let off the hook that many times, she’s going to make you pay. Her 72 off 94 deliveries featured impressive timing and placement. Well-balanced, hitting the ball late, she is the classiest batter in the Nepali side and is very strong on the leg-side. Which is where Iran bowled a great deal. Discomfited by the left-hand right-hand Nepali top order, and without spikes on a surface still slick with morning dew, Iran’s bowlers sprayed the ball on both sides of the wicket, and the fielders struggled mightily.

Iran weren’t quite the side that impressed so much last year in Thailand, when they appeared in international competition after a four-year gap. For that event they appeared fitter and more suited for the challenge. Today they persisted with a slip well into the middle of Nepal’s innings when gap-pluggers, particularly at midwicket would have been more ideal and were static in the field, when they were so much more agile last year. Nepal took full advantage and along with the elegant Sita (61 off 50) , the fizzing Sarita Magar made 72 off 94 and their second-wicket partnership of 107 in 83 balls took the game beyond the Bosphorus for Iran. Neera Rajopadhyay came in and made runs almost at will and Nepal’s 284 (boosted by 65 extra deliveries) was a mighty score.

Grace and power: Sita Magar

Iran made a poor start in reply, nerves getting the better of to be run out but neither Rubina Chhetry nor Sonu Khadka were at their best themselves with the ball. Iran decided to block the straight ones, nudge the ones straying down leg and play for survival. Feisty Roya Kaheni hit the shot of the Iran innings, pulling Rubina for an emphatic 4 but that was the only stroke of authority Iran played. It was noticeable how much more support Nepal’s fielders gave each other, the Iranians were often to be seen and heard remonstrating with each other in the field.

Rubina switched ends in search of better rhythm but was still some way short of her best, perhaps struggling with an ankle injury, and it was only when the slower bowlers came on that Iran looked they could be winkled out. Wickets fell steadily to Sita Magar to confirm how much the day belonged to her, but the rest of Nepal’s bowlers lacked that cutting edge today and it took another run-out to end the match inside the 31st over.

ACC Women's Premier 2014, Day 1:

Iran v Nepal at Chiang Mai Gymkhana
Iran won the toss and elected to field
Nepal: 284 for 6 off 40 overs (Sita M. 61, Sarita M. 72, N. Rajopadhyay 47*)
Iran: 63 all out off 30.5 overs (Sita M. 4-5)
Player of the Match: Sita Magar (Nepal)

Tournament Page

Filed February 11th, 2014