Bagmati through to semis after thrilling tie with LumbiniNational skipper Malla's side finished top of Group 'B' with seven points while Lumbini's semi-final fate depends upon Police vs Province 2 outcome.
Bagmati Province rescued a point from the jaws of defeat against Lumbini, qualifying for the semi finals as the group winners of the ongoing Prime Minister Cup National one-day cricket tournament.
Bagmati Province tied their last group match against Lumbini Province played at Mulpani grounds on Sunday.
Chasing a run target of 221, Lumbini were at 216-8 in 46.3 overs, requiring only five runs from 21 deliveries for victory. But they lost the remaining two batsmen just for four runs with still two overs to spare.
The outcome confirmed national captain Gyanendra Malla-led Bagmati finish on top of Group 'B' with seven points. They have won three matches. Had Lumbini won the match, they would have come level with Bagmati. But now they remain in second place with five points after two wins, a draw and a defeat.
Lumbini are now in danger of being eliminated from the group round if the third placed Nepal Police Club beat Province 2 in the last match on Monday. Police, who have four points, could finish runners-up and above Lumbini in the table with a victory over the bottom placed Province 2. Only top two sides qualify for the semi-finals.
Opting to bat first, Bagmati scored 220-9 with opener Aadil Khan scoring highest 55 runs. He shared a 63-run opening wicket partnership with Aakash Thapa who contributed 39 runs before being trapped leg before by Dipendra Rawat. Khan hit five boundaries and three sixes in his 87-ball knock. He was caught by Jitendra Sahani off Anil Kharel’s bowling.
Bagmati skipper Malla who came to bat at number six was out for 14 runs as the score read 154-5. But middle order Ishan Pandey consolidated the innings scoring 51 runs. He hit four boundaries and three sixes in his 53-ball knock. Prithu Baskota contributed 29 runs and Nandan Yadav remained unbeaten for 11 runs.
Lumbini bowler Dipendra Rawat grabbed three wickets in his nine-over bowling spell conceding 40 runs. Krishna Karki and Sandeep Sunar bagged two wickets apiece.
In the Lumbini run chase, openers Sandeep Sunar and Dev Khanal contributed 25 and 26 runs respectively. Saurav Khanal, who came at number four, scored 34 runs off 77 balls.
Middle order batsman Prakash KC and captain Krishna Karki both contributed 41 runs, the joint highest scores of the innings, as the run chase seemed to be heading in the right track with 160-5 on board. KC faced 72 deliveries before being trapped leg before while Karki faced 44 balls before being caught out by Ramnaresh Giri off Ishan Pandey’s bowling.
But they lost the remaining batsmen in quick succession for just 50 runs as none of the last five batsmen managed double digits. The last two batsmen–Anil Kharel and Dipendra Rawat—remaining for Lumbini and in the hunt for just one run after the scores were tied at 220, lacked understanding and Rawat was run out by wicketkeeper Aakash Thapa.
Sudurpaschim pull consolation win, Province 2 crash out
Sudurpaschim Province bowed out with a consolation win after a three-wicket victory over Province 2 in their last group match of the Prime Minister Cup at the TU cricket ground in Kirtipur. The defeat also sends Province 2 crashing out with a match in hand.
Put into bat first, Province 2 were bundled out for 195 runs in 42 overs. Chasing the moderate target, Sudurpaschim scored 196-7 in 33 overs.
Sudurpaschim, already out of the race for the semi-finals berth, climbed to fourth position in the Group 'B' standings with first victory. The outcome also showed exit door to Province 2 with a match in hand as they are winless after the third match and hit at the bottom of the standings.
Opener Harishankar Shah contributed highest 60 runs for Province 2. He hit nine boundaries in his 73 ball knock before being bowled by Sher Malla. Bibek Yavad hit 41 off 52 only to be trapped leg before by Malla.
Malla and Narendra Saud were the most successful bowlers for Sudurpaschim with three wickets each in their name.
In the Sudurpaschim run chase, top order batsmen made remarkable contributions. Opener Gajendra Bohora and skipper Khadak Bohora scored 39 and 43 runs respectively. The duo played 78 runs stand for the first wicket before Gajendra was dismissed.
Number three batsman Sanju Damai contributed the highest 57 runs while Arun Airee scored 19 runs as Sudurpaschim made 192-4 in 29.1 overs. The man-of-the-match Damai hit quickfire eight fours and two sixes in his 35-ball knock. Sudurpaschim lost three batsmen for just five runs before achieving their target.
Province 2 bowler Kumar Thapa claimed three wickets while Harishankar Shah pocketed two.
Tribhuvan Army Club will vie against Nepal Armed Police Force Club at the TU cricket ground on Monday while Nepal Police Club will take on Province 2 at the Mulpani cricket ground.