Army beat APF to lift Prime Minister CupThe departmental team edge arch-rivals by 33 runs in the final at the TU cricket ground after they claimed last four wickets in a space of 16 balls.
First edition joint winners Tribhuvan Army Club claimed the Prime Minister Cup trophy with a 33-run victory over Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club at the TU cricket ground in Kirtipur on Saturday.
Army, the joint winners of the first edition along with Nepal Police Club after the final was washed out and limited to runners up in the last two editions, grabbed the dramatic victory after they claimed the last four wickets in the space of 16 balls.
Put into bat first, Army posted a moderate total of 211-9 after Abinash Bohara claimed four wickets. In the run chase, APF were bundled out for 178 runs in 41.3 overs.
Army tested Sushan Bhari to open the innings along with Anil Mandal. But the experiment turned sour as they lost Bhari for 13 runs, Mandal for 11 runs and Bhim Sharki for seven runs as Army were left struggling with 47 runs on the board and three wickets down.
“We were under pressure in batting as we were playing without three important players who are in the UAE to play T10. We sent Bhari to open the innings despite pressure and he justified the decision,” said Army captain Bhandari.
Hari Chauhan, who came to bat at number three, consolidated the innings with 58 runs off 102. He hit six fences before being caught by Kamal Singh Airee off Bohara. Chauhan shared a 44-run partnership for the seventh wicket with lower middle order batsman Rajesh Pulami.
The other remarkable contributor Pulami scored 28 off 29 which included two fences and a six. Shahab Alam contributed an unbeaten 25 runs in his quickfire 14-ball knock. He hit two boundaries and a six.
Rohit Paudel scored 13 runs, Lokesh Bam 15 runs and Bikram Sob 11 runs for the Army who were gifted with 23 extra runs.
APF’s Bohara gave away 25 runs in his 10-over bowling with two maiden overs. Kishore Mahato claimed two wickets in his 10-over bowling conceding 53 runs. Airee, Bhuvan Kari and skipper Sharad Vesawkar pocketed one wicket each.
APF’s run chase received an early bowl after their opener Subash Khakurel was dismissed for 14 runs and skipper Vesawkar for golden duck with 2-21 on the board. But the other opener Asif Sheikh gave stability to the innings scoring 61 off 71. He played a 71-run partnership with Shankar Rana who contributed 21 runs before being caught by skipper Binod Bhandari off Shahab Alam.
Sheikh, caught by Rohit Kumar Paudel off Jitendra Mukhiya in the 27th over, hit eight boundaries and a six. Middle order batsmen Sumit Maharjan and Sundeep Jora who scored 19 and 29 runs respectively were the other major contributors for APF.
Once Jora was dismissed in the 38th over as the seventh wicket with 174 runs on the board, APF lost the remaining three batsmen cheaply for just four runs.
“We created the base for victory once we got the wicket of Sundeep Jora [a reliable batsman] at the right time,” said Army skipper Bhandari. “In fact both the teams played well, but we made fewer errors.”
The match took a dramatic turn after Sushan Bhari dismissed Amar Routel in the last ball of the 40th over to claim eighth wicket. Shahab Alam bowled Kamal Airee in the 41.2 over while Abinash Bohara was the last wicket to fall in the following delivery after being trapped leg before.
Bikram Sob, Jitendra Mukhiya and Alam claimed three wickets each while Bhari pocketed one. Sob conceded 27 runs in his nine bowling overs. Mukhiya gave away 37 runs in nine overs bowling with a maiden over. Alam gave away 28 runs in his 9.3 overs bowling. He conceded 28 runs with two maiden overs.
APF captain Vesawkar said that they could have won had they played for the whole 50 overs. “The opponents played better than us and they made fewer mistakes. It was a disappointing tournament for me and also I was out of form. I will try to improve in the coming days.”
Winners Army bagged a purse of Rs 1 million while runners up APF got Rs 500,000.
Kamal Singh Airee of APF was named the man of the series while the best batsman award went to Prithu Baskota of Bagmati Province. Army’s Shahab Alam was named best bowler and Bivek Yadav of Province 2 was named emerging player. Airee got Rs 50,000 in reward while best bowler and batsman got Rs 25,000 each. The emerging player pocketed Rs 25,000.