KATHMANDU: Nepal APF Club and Nepal Police Club (NPC) along with Region-I (Biratnagar) recorded second successive wins in the Pepsi Standard Chartered Twenty20 National Cricket Tournament today.
APF eased to an eight-wicket victory over Region-VI (Baitadi) and Region-II (Birgunj) beat Region-VII (Janakpurdham) also by eight wickets in Group A at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds while NPC defeated Region-IV (Bhairahawa) by 63 runs and Biratnagar pipped Region-VIII (Pokhara) by two runs in Group B at the TU Stadium.
Electing to bat first, Biratnagar scored 139-8. In reply, Pokhara fell agonisingly short of their target making 137-7. Needing seven runs in the final over, Pokhara batsman Ishan Baniya (six) and Pradeep Rawat (two) only managed to score four runs.
Ajay Rajbanshi (51) and Unil Shrestha (53) scored half centuries for Biratnagar. Ajay struck four fours and a six in his 43-ball innings while Unil hit three sixes and two fours in his 44-ball knock. Man-of-the-match Dipesh Khatri took 4-15 for Pokhara.
Dipesh returned to top score for Pokhara with 25-ball 44 with six fours and a six after openers Rijan Prajoo (30) and S Shrivastav (24) had put on 50-run stand for the first wicket. Kundan Singh claimed three and Amit Dahal took two wickets for Biratnagar.
NPC, meanwhile, scored 140-5 in 19 overs and dismissed Bhairahawa for 77 in 14.4 overs. NPC total was built around man-of-the-match Mahesh Chhetri (44), Pushpa Thapa (32), Binod Bhandari (30) and Naresh Budhayer (24). Only skipper Antim Thapa (29) and Lal Bahadur (11) were able to score in double figures for Bhairahawa. Manjeet Shrestha and Bhuwan Karki grabbed three wickets apiece for NPC.
At Pulchowk, Baitadi were bowled out for a record low 25 runs in 8.5 overs and APF surpassed the total for the loss of two wickets in 3.4 overs. Man-of-the-match Mehboob Alam and Shakti Gauchan claimed three wickets apiece while Amrit Bhattarai and Basant Regmi grabbed two each for APF.
In another match, Janakpur scored 130 in 19.5 overs with contributions from Anil Kumar Mandal (27), S Pandey (18), and Kumar Prasun (18). Jitendra Mukhiya and Kumar Thapa took two wickets each for Birgunj.
In reply, Birgunj openers Amit Shrestha (26) and Suraj Prasad Kurmi (21) laid the foundation for victory with 46-run stand for the first wicket. After both the openers were dismissed within the space of six runs, Md Hasim Ansari (55) and Dipendra Sah (20) guided their team home with an unfinished stand of 84 runs. Hasim hit five fours and three sixes in his 43-ball knock.
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE