Army in the hunt for first ‘unshared’ PM Cup trophyThe three-time finalists vie against Armed Police Force in their quest for the title.
Tribhuvan Army Club look for their maiden “unshared” trophy win when they lock horns with arch-rivals Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club in the summit clash of the Prime Minister Cup National one-day cricket tournament at the TU cricket grounds in Kirtipur on Saturday.
The army men have won the trophy only once—but it too had to be shared with Nepal Police Club after rain disrupted play in the final match of the first edition of the tournament in 2017. During the succeeding editions of the tournament, it was again the same club that got the better of them.
The army team made its way into the final by defeating the Gyanendra Malla-led Bagmati Province in the second semi-final by 94 runs. Sharad Vesawkar's APF edged defending champions Nepal Police Club by 30 runs in the other semi-final fixture.
But getting the upper hand against APF will be a tough task for the army men, who have already tasted defeat at the hands of the same opponent in the group stage of the tournament. Unlike the army, APF go into the final with a cent percent winning streak.
"That we couldn’t win the title in the past three editions of the tournament is now history. But it's our current performance that matters,” said army skipper Binod Bhandari. “We have a balanced team and we will attempt to change history this time," he added.
The army team will count on batsman Rajesh Pulami, who has scored the highest (176) runs so far in the tournament, along with the skipper to get the team runs. Sushan Bhari and Shabah Alam, both of whom have taken nine wickets apiece, spearhead the bowling.
APF skipper Sharad Vesawkar said his team is in good form and are happy to be in the final. "We have the hunger to win the title and the team is playing with a good rhythm. We have the ability to play better in challenging times as well. We are hopeful on good results," said Vesawkar.
APF will count on Sundeep Jora and Asif Sheikh, among others, to get them the runs while Abinash Bohara and Kamal Sing Airee lead the bowling attack. Jora has scored 152 runs in his four innings of the tournament with a best of 60 against Karnali and 34 against Nepal Police Club in the semis. Sheikh has scored 145 runs in four matches.
Pacer Bohara has claimed 10 wickets in his four matches of the tournament while Airee has pocketed nine in five matches. Captain Sharad Vesawkar, opener Subash Khakurel, and veteran bowler Basant Regmi are also other experienced players in the squad.
"I will also try to improve my performance in the final as I have not been able to give my best in the tournament," said APF skipper Vesawkar.