Police clinch Prime Minister Cup titleDipendra Singh Airee’s men defeat Tribhuvan Army Club by six wickets in the final to win their third trophy.
Nepal Police Club defeated Tribhuvan Army Club by six wickets to win their third Prime Minister Men’s National Cricket Tournament trophy at the TU Cricket Ground in Kirtipur on Saturday.
The outcome means Police also preserved their perfect record in the one-day tournament this season.
Army have reached the final of the tournament every season since its first edition in 2017 but have been successful only twice—in the 2017 and 2021 editions. Army shared the trophy with Police in the inaugural season after their final yielded no result.
The two departmental rivals also battled in the 2019 title match, which Police won by four wickets.
The national tournament has been dominated by the three departmental teams ever since, with Armed Police Force Club being the other successful side winning trophies in 2018 and 2022.
The defending champions, APF, however, finished behind third-placed Bagmati Province and fourth-placed Madhesh Province this season, even failing to qualify for the Men’s Elite Trophy.
The format was changed for the 2024 season, with the top-two teams progressing into the final and the top four teams booking their tickets to the Elite Trophy. In previous editions, the teams competed in two groups of five teams (except for the 2017 edition where only eight teams participated). The top two teams from each group would qualify for the semi-finals.
At Kirtipur, Army were looking to avenge the defeat of the 2019 final but, against a formidable Police side, they fell short again, courtesy of player-of-the-match Lalit Rajbanshi who took 3-21 to bring Army to their knees with his lethal spin.
Rajbanshi rattled the top order of Army, who were invited to bat first, removing Santosh Karki (6), Bhim Sharki (5) and Sandeep Rijali (0) within seven overs.
Binod Bhandari (2), Kushal Malla (17), Basir Ahamad (1) all departed without making any significant contributions and Army soon found themselves in big trouble at 69-7 in 24.5 overs when Dipendra Singh Airee (3-31) removed opener Irman Sheikh who had battled alone scoring 28 runs from 66 balls.
Half-centurian Bibek Yadav (63 runs off 81 balls) and Sompal Kami (39 runs off 58 balls) staged a late fight back with a 59-run stand for the eighth wicket to steady the ship.
Kami fell to Kushal Bhurtel in the 38.5 overs but Yadav fought till the last over to take Army to 181 all out.
Police made a shaky start in their chase after losing openers Dilip Nath for seven and Bhurtel for 14.
Arjun Saud (36 runs off 58 balls) and Amit Shrestha (28 runs off 51 balls) rebuilt the Police innings with a 59-run stand.
Ahamad ended their resistance taking out Saud in 19.5 overs and Shahab Alam trapped Shrestha leg in front in the 25th over.
But Shankar Rana, who smashed a half century, and Aarif Sheikh, who made 27 runs off 54 balls put on an unbroken stand of 85 runs to guide Police to 183-4 in 37.5 overs. Rana’s knock of 43-ball 62 included five hits to the fences and four boundaries.
Bagmati’s Surya Tamang was declared the player of the series and the best bowler. Tamang took 30 wickets in nine games to help Bagmati secure third position in the 10-team standings.
Anil Kumar Sah of Madhesh won the best batter award. Sah scored 385 runs in nine games for Madhesh.
Bagmati’s Ashutosh Ghiraiya was named emerging player. Ghiraiya scored 382 runs.