Debutante departmental teams set up final clash

KATHMANDU: Nepal Police Club (NPC) and Nepal APF Club advanced to the final of the Pepsi Standard Chartered One Day National Cricket Tournament today.

NPC defeated Region-IV (Bhairahawa) by six wickets at the Engineering Campus grounds in Lalitpur, while the match between APF and Region-VI (Baitadi) at the TU Stadium ended in a no result due to rain. NPC topped Group A with seven points from four matches, while APF finished atop the Group A table with seven points.

Both the departmental teams — making their first appearance in the national league after forming the teams with stars players from various regional teams — won three matches and shared points from the one each washed out matches. The final will be played at the TU Stadium on Saturday.

Region-VII (Janakpurdham) made an impressive debut in the national cricket winning three out of four matches, while another newcomer Region-VIII (Pokhara) won two against as many losses. Region-II (Birgunj) and Region-V (Nepalgunj) ended their campaigns even without opening their accounts.

On Thursday, the match between NPC and Baitadi was abandoned after 20.4 overs with Baitadi batting at 56-4. Shakti Bhandari was batting on 24 when the match was called off just after Baitadi had lost their fourth wicket in the form of Padam KC. Bhuwan Karki had taken two and skipper Binod Das and Rahul Kumar BK one wicket for NPC.

In another match that was reduced to 30-over-a-side because of rain, APF skipper Paras Khadka’s decision to field first paid off as they bowled out Bhairahawa to a meagre 83 runs in 29.3 overs and reached the target losing four wickets in 13.1 overs.

Opener Lal Bahadur Adhikari top scored for Bhairahawa with 22 off 30 balls including four boundaries, while skipper Antim Thapa (16) and Prakash KC (10) were the other batsmen to score in double figures.

Man-of-the-match Basanta Regmi and Shakti Gauchan shared six wickets between them to pack their former team to a lowly total. Basanta took 4-19 off six overs, while Shakti claimed 2-14. Mehboob Alam, Amrit Bhattarai, Paras Khadka and Prithu Baskota pocketed one wicket each for APF.

In reply, APF openers Subash Khakurel and Paras added 50 runs in just 6.2 overs before the duo fell in the space of five balls at the same score. APF lost two more wickets in quick succession with hard-hitting Mehboob (five) and Rom Shrestha (four) returning to the pavilion cheaply.

Sharad Vesawkar (11) and Gyanendra Malla (14) saw the team home without further loss. Paras hit two fours and a six in his 17-ball 22, while Subash scored 19 off 22 balls including three boundaries. Lal Bahadur Adhikari took three out of four wickets to fall, while Vivek Chaudhary claimed the other for Bhairahawa.