APF edge past Armymen by six runs to top Group A

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 25

Defending champions Nepal Police Club defeated Province-2 by four wickets to advance to the semi-finals of the PM Cup Men’s National Cricket Tournament here today.

NPC, who faced a defeat at the hands of table toppers Bagmati Province in their first match, accumulated six points with their third straight victory and made it to the last four as Group B runners-up.

Bagmati had already advanced to the semis with seven points. Three teams were eliminated from the group. Lumbini finished third with five points, while Sudurpashchim Province earned two and Province-2 failed to open their accounts.

NPC will now face Group A winners Nepal APF Club, while Bagmati will take on Tribhuvan Army Club in the semi-finals. APF beat TAC by six runs to finish first in Group A with maximum eight points, while the Armymen came second with six. Karnali, Province-1 and Gandaki earned two points each in the group.

At Mulpani Cricket Grounds, NPC restricted Province-2 to 169-9 before reaching 170-6 with 54 balls remaining.

Anil Sah top scored for the defending champions with an unbeaten 47 off 69 balls that included four boundaries. Kushal Bhurtel struck three fours and a six in his 55- ball 43.

Amit Shrestha and Dipendra Singh Airee contributed 17 each, while Sunil Dhamala scored 13 and skipper Manjeet Shrestha remained unbeaten on six-ball 12 that included one each four and six. Bibek Yadav and Kumar Thapa took three wickets each for Province-2.

Earlier, Hari Shankar Shah scored a half century for Province-2 but he got little support from other batsmen.

Shah struck five fours and a six in his 84-ball 53, while opener Himanshu Dutta (16) was next best contributor. Aadil Khan (15), skipper Suraj Kurmi (13), Ravi Singh (12) and Bishal Shusling (12) got starts but none of the batsmen was able to convert them into big knocks.

Man-of-the-match Lalit Rajbanshi was the pick of the NPC bowlers taking 4-37 from eight overs, while Sagar Dhakal bagged two wickets and Pawan Sarraf got one.

At the TU Stadium, APF were bowled out for 240 runs with two balls to spare, while TAC reached 234-8 in a match which just counted to decide the group winners and runners-up. Sumit Maharjan top scored for APF with 46 off 68 balls that included five boundaries and two sixes, while opener Subash Khakurel hit six fours in his 82-ball 38. Sundeep Jora scored run-a-ball 28 with the help of four boundaries and a six, whereas Amar Routela struck a four and two sixes in his quick fire 14-ball 26. Skipper Sharad Vesawkar contributed 24 runs hitting two fours and Basant Regmi struck one each four and six in his 24-ball 20.

Hari Chauhan completed the five-wicket haul taking 5-60 from 9.4 overs, while Shahab Alam grabbed 2-23. Aakash Chand and Bikram Sob pocketed one wicket each for TAC.

In reply, TAC were nicely cruising towards victory until they lost Rajesh Pulami and Bikram Sob at the score on 196, at a stage when the team needed 45 runs from 30 balls with four wickets remaining.

Aakash Chand and Shahab Alam did add 38 runs for the unbroken ninth wicket but they fell seven runs short of the target.

Anil Mandal top scored for the team with 45 off 76 balls that included eight hits to the fence, while Rajesh Pulami struck two fours and a six in his 37-ball 33. Rohit Poudel scored 67-ball 30, while Bikram Sob struck five boundaries in his 24-ball 28. Bhim Sharki contributed 27, while Lokesh Bam struck two each fours and sixes in his run-a-ball 21.

Shahab Alam remained unbeaten on 15-ball 20 that included two fours and a six, while Aakash Chand hit one each four and six in his 14- ball 16 not out.

Man-of-the-match Kamal Singh Airee took three wickets, while Bhuvan Karki bagged two and Abinash Bohara pocketed one for APF.