A landmark century for Nepali women’s cricket

Rubina Chhetry
Rubina Chhetry raises her bat after scoring Nepal’s first century in women’s cricket.

All-rounder Rubina Chhetry stands as the most accomplished player and leader in Nepali women’s cricket. Captaining the team for 11 years, she has been a stalwart in Nepali cricket, leading with zeal, determination, and unwavering hunger for success, propelling the team forward.

Recently, Chhetry, along with Sita Rana Magar, made history by participating in the FairBreak Invitational, a T20 women’s franchise league. They became the first women from Nepal to compete in an international T20 competition, showcasing their talent and breaking new ground for Nepali women’s cricket.

Since her debut in 2008, expectations have been high for Chhetry to score Nepal’s first century in women’s cricket. But never had Chhetry come close to scoring one. Things, however, changed on Tuesday, as Rubina Chhetry made history by scoring 118 runs off 59 balls against the Maldives in the ACC Women’s Premier Cup. Her innings was a masterclass, featuring 10 fours and five sixes, showcasing her remarkable hitting ability helping Nepal notch up a comprehensive win against the Maldives.

Nepal’s marvel

Rubina Chhetry on her knees after scoring a century.

When Rubina Chhetry came out to bat on Tuesday, Nepal found themselves struggling at 22 for three. The situation worsened as they slipped to 61 for 4. However, even amidst the loss of wickets, Chhetry remained undeterred, displaying why she is one of Nepal’s best to pick a bat in hand.

“I understood I had to be there after Sita and Indu got out. Understanding it was a batting-friendly wicket game further confidence,” she says.

By the end of the 12th over, Chhetry was batting on 37 of 31 balls. Understanding the need to make the most of it wicket, she decided to accelerate things hitting Maaha Naseer for 14 and completing her half-century.

The next 50 runs however came quickly, 19 balls to be specific.

In the 16th over, Chhetry unleashed her attacking prowess by striking Latsha Haleemath for two fours and a six, showcasing her dominance at the crease. Then, in the 18th over, she faced Nabaa Naseem, smashing her for 18 runs, which included three fours and a six, ultimately writing her name in the history books by scoring Nepal’s first century.

As Naseem went a little too full, Chhetry elegantly drove the ball towards long off and as the ball went over the boundary, she fell to her knees, perhaps in a moment of relief and sheer joy at achieving such a monumental milestone for herself and her team.

I was very emotional. I didn’t have any words at that time and nor do I have them right now,” she says.

Forever a leader

Rubina Chhetry with the player of the match award.

The captaincy role comes with a multitude of additional responsibilities beyond just personal performance. Captains must not only focus on their own game but also on the collective performance of the entire team and the outcomes they achieve.

When a team is not performing well, the captain often bears the brunt of criticism from supporters and well-wishers. As Chhetry’s performance looked to be dwindling, in November, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) decided to remove her from the captaincy, passing the responsibility to Indu Burma.

Coincidentally, this change seemed to have a positive impact on Chhetry, as she has been observed to be in a better rhythm since relinquishing the captaincy role.

She was superb during the Prime Minister’s Cup Women’s T20 national tournament where she took Koshi Province to the final. In 10 matches in the competition, she scored 345 runs, including three half-centuries, and also contributed with the ball by taking 11 wickets.

Even though she is no longer the captain, Rubina Chhetry believes she has not felt the difference as she continues to lead the team as a senior member and understands her responsibility when she puts on Nepal’s jersey to play cricket.

“You have to perform regardless. Me and Sita are senior members of the team and continue to be leaders. We know we have to help Indu,” she says.

Rubina Chhetry credits her improved performance to a renewed focus on fitness. She believes that prioritising physical conditioning has contributed significantly to her enhanced abilities on the field.

“The support staff have helped immensely. They have helped us get better and better and me doing well is due to that,” she says.

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GC is Onlinekhabar's cricket correspondent.

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