Nepal APF Club fixed its final clash with another departmental rival, Nepal Police Club (NPC), after a comprehensive eight wickets victory over Region No 8 (Pokhara) on Friday in the ongoing Pepsi Standard Chartered T20 National Cricket Tournament.
NPC had earlier qualified to the finals on Thursday as the match between Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) and Region No 7 (Janakpur) was called off due to rain.
The final match of the tournament will be played on Saturday at the TU Cricket Ground, where NPC will try to avenge its loss in the final of the recently concluded National One-day Tournament against APF.
Opener Sanjay Shrestha´s not out 37 runs off 24 balls guided APF to an eight-wicket victory chasing the target of 75 runs in just 9.4 overs in the match played at TU Ground Kirtipur.
Opener Shrestha and Presh Lohani gave APF a quick start. Shrestha and Lohani shared a 53-run partnership off 31 balls. Lohani was the first batsman to be removed from the crease by Pradeep Rawat. Lohani scored 24 runs off 19 balls with two huge sixes and a boundary.
APF lost their second wicket as Dipendra Chaudhary was out for one run. Nischal Pandey trapped Chaudhary in leg before wicket (LBW). Shrestha hit two sixes and four boundaries to lead his team to victory.
Earlier, tight bowling from APF restricted Pokhara to just 74 runs in 16.2 overs. Pokhara´s batsmen were not allowed to settle at the crease by APF bowlers. Dipen Lamgade was the first to be removed from the crease in the first over of the innings. In the second over they lost their next batsman Pradeep Rawat. APF continued to take wickets in both the ends to stop Pokhara.
Ishan Baniya was the highest scorer with 15 runs off 12 balls with three boundaries. Rijan Prajoo scored 14 runs off 18 balls.
Shakti Gauchan, Prithu Baskota and Rom Shrestha took two wickets each while Mehaboob Alam and Sunam Shrestha grabbed a wicket each.
In the match played at the Engineering Ground, finalist NPC beat Janakpur by 47 runs. NPC won the toss and scored 124 runs in regular 20 overs losing nine wickets. NPC bowled out Janakpur for 77 runs in 17.1 overs.
NPC could not have the expected start as they lost their openers Fazlur Rahman (2) and Binod Bhandari (5) by the end of third overs with the total 28 runs. A 59-run partnership between Naresh Budhaaer and Pradeep Aire guided the team to the respectable total despite poor start. Budhaair scored 32 runs off 38 balls with two boundaries and a six while Aire struck three sixes and two boundaries in his 37-run innings off 33 balls.
Kumar Prasun was the successful bowler for Janakpur as he grabbed five wickets in four overs conceding nine runs. Raj Mohammad took two wickets while Pradeep Sapkota and Abhishek Jha took a wicket each.
Janakpur fumbled from the very first over of their innings and continued to lose wickets in regular intervals. Puspa Thapa took four wickets in his four overs conceding just seven runs. Chandra Saud and Bhuwan Karki took two wickets each while Manjeet Shrestha grabbed a wicket for NPC.
Sunil Kumar Sah was not out in 12 runs off 10 balls with a six and Hari Shankar Sah scored 12 runs off 11 balls. Six of the Janakpur batsmen were not able to cross the double digit margin.
In another match played at Engineering Ground, Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) defeated Bhairahawa after eight years in any National Cricket Tournament. Nepalgunj registered an impressive six-wicket victory over Bhairahawa in the match that was reduced by three overs in each innings.
Winning the toss Bhairahawa scored 79 runs in the allotted 17 overs losing nine wickets. Krishna Karki scored 14 runs off 24 balls. Nasir Ansari and Anupam Singh grabbed two wickets each for Nepalgunj. Sammu Khan and Navin Shahi took a wicket each.
Chasing the target of 80 runs, Nepalgunj crossed the target in just 16 overs losing four wickets. Rupesh Sharma was not out for 26 runs off 31 balls with two boundaries. Subendu Pandey scored 14 runs off 20 balls. Bijay Thapa took two wickets while Vivek Chaudhary grabbed a wicket for Bhairahawa.
In course of registering their third win in the tournament Region No 3 (Kathmandu) beat Region No 6 (Baitadi) by nine runs in the match played at TU ground, Kirtipur.
Kathmandu scored 120 runs in 19.4 overs losing all wickets after electing to bat first. Middle order batsman Rajesh Pulami scored 25 runs off 25 balls with a boundary while last man Pramod Basnet scored 14 runs off five deliveries with two huge sixes in the last over of the innings. Opener Manoj Sood scored 15 runs off 17 balls with the help of three boundaries.
Navin Chand took three wickets while Dinesh Agri, Shakti Bhandari and Santosh Bhatt shared two wickets each.
Baitadi were able to score only 111 runs at the loss of nine wickets in 20 overs. Baitadi lost their opener Bhatt for duck. A 52-run partnership between Bhandari and Surendra Chand guided the team to a strong position.
The fall of Chand in the 13.3 overs with his personal score 28 runs off 35 balls was a setback for the team. After the fall of second wicket Baitadi continued to throw their wickets away. The remaining eight wickets were lost for 49 runs.
Bhandari was the highest scorer with 38 runs off 45 deliveries with three boundaries.
Prashanna Shakya was the successful bowler for Kathmandu as he took four wickets conceding 28 runs. Rupesh Shrivastav took two wickets while Sudeep Sharma grabbed a wicket.