Jun 10, 2018-Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club stunned last year’s joint winners Nepal Police Club (NPC) by nine runs under Duckworth/Lewis method to enter the final of the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament on Saturday.
Electing to bat first the TU Stadium, APF failed to make the most of a modest start provided by their top and middle order before they were bundled out for 208 all out in 48.5 overs against a relatively strong NPC batting side. NPC were 59-2 in 14.4 overs before a lengthy rain intervention handed them a revised target of 141 in 28 overs.
APF completely shifted the moment after the resumption with four quick wickets in a space of 17 runs before their seamers held firm in the closing stages restrciting NPC to 131-9. APF will now take on last year’s joint winners Tribhuvan Army Club in the final on Monday.
Karan KC and Kamal Singh Airee picked up a wicket each reducing NPC to 23-2 but they were still in the driving seat with opener Sunil Dhamala and Dipendra Singh Airee holding the innings. The major blow came after the resumption when Karan affected the run out of set batsman Sunil in the 16th over. He made 24 off 50 balls with three boundaries.
Man-of-the-match Amar Singh Routela virtually put APF’s one foot in the final after the medium pace bowler broke the backbone of NPC batting getting rid of their two best batsmen Aarif Sheikh (two) and Dipendra (14) in the 16th over. Skipper Basanta Regmi then removed his opposite number Manjeet Shrestha (six) as NPC were reeling at 76-6 in 18.5 overs.
Kushal Bhurtel and Siddhanti Lohani (10) kept NPC in the game with a 36-run seventh wicket but their last batting pair was broken by Basanta again after he bowled the latter. NPC needed 29 runs from the last four overs but Karan, Amar and Kamal bowled their heart out conceding just 19 runs. Amar’s last over, when NPC needed 16, saw the run out of Kushal and departure of Lalit Singh Bhandari.
Kushal top scored for NPC with a run-ball 30 that included two fours and a six. Amar returned the figures of 3-30 from five overs and Basanta snared 2-33 from six.
Earlier, openers Anil Sah and Subash Khakurel (21) gave APF a modest start with a 57-run partnership for the first wicket. Anil anchored the innings further stitching 38 runs for the second wicket with Pradeep Airee (24). But NPC got the breakthrough after removing the two batsmen in a space of eighty runs. Anil top scored for his side with a 79-ball 45 that included six boundaries.
Prithu Baskota and Rohit Kumar Paudel resurrected the APF innings with a 63-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But once Prithu lost his wicket, APF late middle order just managed to cross 200-run mark. Prithu made 40 off 48 with five hits to the fence and Rohit’s 56-ball 32 included two boundaries. Dipendra Singh Airee took 3-41 for NPC, while Aarif and Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi had two scalps apiece.
Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club 208 all out in 48.5 overs (AK Sah 45, P Baskota 40; DS Airee 3-41, LN Rajbanshi 2-36) beat Nepal Police Club 131-9 in 28 overs (K Bhurtel 30, S Dhamala 24; AS Routela 3-30, B Regmi 2-33) by nine runs under D/L Method; Man-of-the-match: AS Routela