APF‚ NPC climb atop standings

KATHMANDU: Two newcomers Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club and Nepal Police Club (NPC) topped their respective groups with convincing wins in the Pepsi Standard Chartered National One-day Cricket Tournament today.

APF defeated Region-V (Nepalgunj) by seven wickets to climb at the top of Group ‘B’ with five points while NPC lead Group ‘A’ standings with six points from three matches after they too beat Region-II (Birgunj) by seven wickets today.

At the TU Stadium, Nepalgunj were all out for 81 in 29.2. APF surpassed the total losing three wickets in 13.4 overs. Left-arm spinner Shakti Gauchan (4-17) produced the match-winning spell to restrict Nepagunj to a low total.

Lower-order batsman Sahil Rana scored 16 while Bhupendra Thapa (15) and skipper Anupam Singh (10) were the other notable contributors for Nepalgunj. Apart from Shakti, Sanjam Regmi and Basant Regmi claimed two wickets each while Mehboob Alam snared one.

In reply, APF openers Paresh Lohani (34) and Subash Khakurel (three) made a confident start putting on 33 runs for the first wicket. Paresh added another 38 with Sharad Vesawkar before Nasir Ansari had the opener caught by Subendu Pandey.

Durga Kunwar (one) joined Paresh in the pavilion after adding just one run to the total but Sharad and skipper Paras Khadka (six) guided their team home with ease. Paresh hit five fours in his 35-ball knock while Sharad struck six fours in his unbeaten 29-ball innings.

At the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds, Birgunj could only make 103 runs in 28 overs before NPC overcame the total losing three wickets in 22.2 overs. Kanchan Thapa scored the highest 23 for Birgunj.

Man-of-the-match Bhuwan Karki was pick of the NPC bowlers with an enviable figures of 3-8 from six overs. Skipper Binod Das and Manjeet Shrestha grabbed two wickets apiece while Pradeep Airee and Puspa Thapa bagged one each.

NPC had a steady start to their run chase with openers Mahesh Chhetry (19) and Binod Bhandari (11) putting on 32 runs. But NPC lost the openers in the space of one run to be 33-2. Pradeep Airee and Faizlur Rehman ensured their side’s safe passage with a stand of 70 runs for the third wicket.

With scores level, Faizlur was trapped leg before by Bibek Dali in the first ball of the 23rd. Manjeet finished the match in the next ball, hitting the bowlers for a six. Pradeep remained not out on 33 that included six hits to the fence while Faizlur hit two sixes and two fours in his 37-ball 31. Jitendra Mukhiya, Sameer Thapa and Kumar Thapa claimed one wicket each for Birgunj.