HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Region-II (Birgunj) and Region-I (Biratnagar) got off to triumphant starts in their Group ‘B’ matches of the Wai-Wai Under-19 National Cricket Tournament here today.
At the Tribhuvan University Stadium, opener Hashim Ansari starred with both bat and ball to help Birgunj ease past Region-III (Kathmandu) by seven wickets and Biratnagar recovered from early wobble to register a 43-run victory over Region-VIII (Pokhara) at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds.
In Kirtipur, Kathmandu were bowled out for 154 in 49.4 overs. The target was revised to 151 from 47 overs after a brief rain interruption but with man-of-the-match Hashim at his best, Birgunj reached the target in just 27 overs losing just three of their batsmen.
Hashim gave Birgunj a perfect start adding 70 runs for the first wicket in 14.2 overs with Bijaya Ghalan (26). He then added another 63 runs with Shiva Tandukar before falling prey to Jagat Chhetri. Hashim belted eight boundaries and a six in 61 deliveries and reached his 50 in 51 balls. Shiva — who was the last man out, bowled by Sunam Gautam — batted aggressively striking three sixes and two fours in his 36-ball 39. Suraj Kurmi remained unbeaten on 15 from 13 with one each six and four.
Earlier, Kathmandu struggled throughout their innings with No 7 batsman Bijaya Gautam giving some respectability to theIR total with an unbeaten 30 off 83 balls after Sunam (24) and Indra Kamal Manadhar (23) added 45 runs — their best partnership of the innings — for the fourth wicket. Sunam hit four boundaries and Indra hit three. Hashim returned with magical figures of 2-8 from 10 overs that included five maidens, while Akib Ansari picked up three wickets.
In Pulchowk, Biratnagar suffered a massive blow when they were reduced to 34-5 in 11.5 overs but their lower middle order came to rescue their side to post a respectable total of 169 in 43.4 overs. Amit Dahal (5-27) then returned to polish off the Pokhara innings on 126 in 36 overs with a five-wicket haul. Rohit Singh picked up three wickets, while Puran BK had two scalps.
Amrit Shrestha was the best contributor for Pokhara with 42 in 66 balls hitting four boundaries and two sixes. Amrit took Pokhara past triple figures with a 68-run stand with Sagar Bhattarai (29) for the fourth wicket. Sagar’s testing innings included just one boundary in 82 balls, while other Pokhara batsmen failed to make runs in double figures.
In Biratnagar innings, Amit played a crucial role when he was involved in a 35-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Anup Karki. He hit three boundaries in 27 balls. Anup added another 48 runs for the next wicket with Prakash Shah (20) and remained unbeaten on 50 off 91 balls. Anup struck four fours and a six.
Amrit picked up three wickets for Pokhara, while Santosh Upadhayay, Ishwor Magar and Suraj Gurung took two each. On Monday, Birgunj will play Pokhara in Kirtipur and Kathmandu will meet Biratnagar in Pulchowk.