Alam wrecks Nepalgunj

Kathmandu, June 17:

Mehboob Alam took five wickets and Sunil Bista scored half century as Region No 1 (Biratnagar) thrashed Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) by 172 runs to enter the semi-finals at the Shikhar One-day National Cricket Tournament at the TU Stadium today.

Batting fist, Biratnagar scored 221/9 in 50 overs and packed Nepalgunj for a paltry 49 runs in 16.4 overs. Biratnagar openers Puspa Thapa and Pawan Das made a good start adding 27 runs before Das (8) was caught behind by Mahesh Chhetri in the sixth over. Thapa, who scored 24 runs including two fours, departed adding 10 runs to the total , making it 37/2.

Ajay Rajbanshi and Alam then consolidated the innings with a stand of 41 runs. The hard-hitting Alam (10) looked in good touch when he hit a six out of the stadium, but a brilliant diving catch by Niranjan Bhattarai at mid wicket region ended his innings. Rajbanshi also fell soon scoring 27 off 47 balls.

Skipper Unil Shrestha and Sunil Bista added 36 runs for the fifth wicket before Unil (14) was out, while Bista — who added 45 runs with Kushal Tuladhar (15) — completed his half century, the first of the tournament. Bista hit two fours in his 72-ball 52. Manjeet Shrestha (15) hit two huge sixes, while Lakpa Lama (10) and Bhabesh Thapa (8) remained unbeaten.

Durga Sen took 3-47 off nine overs, and Nabin Shahi claimed 2-37 off 10 overs for Nepalgunj.

In reply, Alam wrecked the top order and Manjeet Shrestha checked the middle as Nepalgunj were all out for 49 runs. Alam, who dismissed Dipraj Shakya with the first ball on the innings, took the first three wickets leaving Nepalgunj reeling at 1/3 after 2.1 overs.

Manjeet made it 7/4 in the fourth over before Alam added one more scalp in the seventh over. Manjeet then claimed two more wickets before Alam completed his five wicket haul in the 13th over. Durga Sen was the only batsman who scored in double figures (19).

Man of the match Alam returned 8-1-28-5, while Manjeet took 3-9 off six overs. Lakpa Lama and Bhabesh Thapa got one wicket each. Biratnagar lead the Group A with three points, while Region No 2 (Birgunj) and Nepalgunj have one point each.

On Monday, Kathmandu will take on Bhairahawa. Both the teams have already advanced to the semi-finals from Group B.