Departmental teams — Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club and Nepal Police Club (NPC) — outshined their opponents in the Pepsi Standard Chartered National One-day Cricket Tournament today.
Participating in their first ever cricket tournament, APF hammered Region-VII (Janakpurdham) by nine wickets at the TU Stadium while NPC humbled Region-VIII (Pokhara) by 114 runs at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds.
The result meant NPC lead Group ‘A’ with four points from two matches on better run rate than Region-III (Kathmandu) and Pokhara, who also have four points each but have played a game more. APF, who shared a point with Region-I (Biratnagar) in their previous match that ended in no-result, lie third in Group ‘A’ with three points from two games. Region-IV (Bhairahawa) and Janakpur have four points each in Group ‘B’ but both have played a game more than APF.
At the TU Stadium, Janakpur were restricted to 46 runs in 27.3 overs thanks to a fiery spell from left-arm spinner Shakti Gauchan. APF overcame the total for the loss of one wicket in 9.5 overs. Apart from opener Sobha Kant Pandey, who made a painstaking 16 from 67 balls, no other Janakpur batsmen were able to score in double figures.
Janakpur were in the backfoot from the beginning when the left-arm seamer Mehboob Alam dismissed Anil Kumar Mandal (naught) and Prahlad Sah (one) to make it 11-2 in seven overs. However it was Shakti, who demolished the Janakpur innings taking the next five wickets. Shakti finished with an enviable figures of 5-3 in eight overs which included six maidens. Mehboob returned with 2-10 from six overs and Prithu Baskota claimed 1-6.
In reply, APF openers Paresh Lohani (22) and Subhash Khakurel (18) virtually killed off the match with a stand of 40 runs. Paresh was the only batsman to be out with just seven runs required for victory.
At Pulchowk, NPC scored 227 runs in 36.2 overs before bowling out Pokhara for 113 in 33 overs. Top-order batsmen Mahesh Chhetri, Binod Bhandari and Faijlur Rehman laid the foundation for the NPC total.
Mahesh and Binod put on 86-run stand for the opening wicket. Binod was run out with one run short of half century. He struck six fours and two sixes in his 44-ball knock. Mahesh was next to go on 38 after hitting two fours and a six in his 52-ball innings.
Faizlur was also dismissed two runs short of his half century after stroking five fours and two sixes. Pusha Thapa chipped in 26-ball 24. Nischal Pandey took 5-53 while Dipesh Khatri, Amrit Shrestha, Pradeep Rawat and Dipen Lamgade took one wicket each for Pokhara.
Pokhara made a worst possible start losing openers Dipen and Pradeep Rawat even opening their accounts. Middle-order batsman Dipesh Khatri lent some respectability to the Pokhara total making 43 runs. Bhuwan Karki finished with 3-18 while man-of-the-match Pushpa (2-24), Rahul Kumar BK (2-21) and Manjeet Shrestha (2-11) claimed two wickets apiece for NPC.