Bhutan beat Iran to hold the fifth position in the ACC Women’s Championship in 2014. This is the first win for Bhutan in the tournament being held in Thailand on Monday (17 February).
Iran won the toss and elected to bat after fielding first. They lost a wicket in the first over as Roya Kaheni was promoted to open but fell lbw to Anju Gurung who is a talented left-arm over bowler and was causing problems.
Fabiba Heidari was growing more confident as she reached 10 but she played across the line to be bowled by Anju Gurung but opener Hanieh Golzari did well to bat through the first hour’s play. Iran lost their third wicket as Mahdiyeh Soltaninejad was caught behind off the left-arm spinner.
Iran reached their fifty with only three wickets down as Hanieh moved into the twenties. Mina Delfani was caught and bowled by Dechen Wangmo for 6 but Iran were still enjoying their morning’s work at Royals.
Hamieh Golzari’s innings came to an end after facing 103 balls and hitting 3 boundaries as she was caught by Dechen Wangmo off Ugyen Dema for 31.
Just when it seemed Iran would reach the hundred mark and bat out the 40 overs for the second time in the competition, their last three wickets fell in the space of four balls and they were dismissed for 97 in 39.3 overs. Sonam Choden took 3 for 16 and Dechen Wangmo 3 for 17.
Iran’s opening bowlers were putting in plenty of effort but the second wicket also fell to a run out without the bowler delivering the ball. Bhutan were in trouble at 6 for 3 as Sonam Peldon was bowled. But Yeshey Choden and Ugeyn Dema pulled the Bhutanese team to a stronger position. Bhutan reached fifty just before the break.
Bhutan’s fourth-wicket pair remained in control as they needed 35 more to win in 20 overs. Yeshey Choden was concentrating on defence as she had made 10 from 64 balls but left-hander Ugyen Dema had hit three fours in her 24.
Iran had been appealing for everything and at last the umpire’s finger went up when Yeshey Choden was lbw to Nasimeh Rahshetaei for 21 to bring to an end an excellent partnership of 78.
Iran hadn’t given up and they took a fifth wicket as Ugyen Dema was run out after she had played a nice late cut and looked for a single while her new partner remained in her crease. She had batted sensibly for 33 from 96 balls. The Bhutanese team struggled the last minutes.
There were two runs to win from the last four overs. The powerplay was taken and a leg bye brought the scores level before a wide provided the final run needed as Bhutan won by five wickets. Bhutan played the better cricket throughout the match but Iran had certainly tried everything and given their all. With this victory Bhutan finished in fifth place and Iran were sixth and so facing possible relegation from the new ACC Women’s Premier.
Bhutan won the Spirit of the Cricket Award for their spirited game this season in Thailand.