KATHMANDU, JANUARY 27
Nepal APF Club stunned defending champions Nepal Police Club and advanced to the final of the Prime Minister Cup Men's National Cricket Tournament here at the TU Stadium today.
Batting first, APF posted 203-9 in their allotted 50 overs before packing fellow departmental side NPC for 173 runs with four balls to spare.
APF will now face the winners of the second semi-final match between Tribhuvan Army Club and Bagmati Province.
Invited to take the first strike, APF made a poor start losing opener Asif Sheikh (one) with just 13 runs on the board and they were reduced to 43-4 in 13.3 overs after Subash Khakurel (19), skipper Sharad Vesawkar (18) and Sumit Maharjan (one) departed in the space of 17 runs.
Shankar Rana and Sundeep Jora revived the innings with a 54-run partnership for the fifth wicket but the APF batsmen could not build on that but somehow managed to post the fighting total. Rana scored 44 off 96 balls hitting four boundaries, while Jora struck three fours and a six in his 43-ball 34.
Bhuvan Karki fought the lonely battle down the order scoring 42 off 56 balls that included a four and two sixes, while Kamal Airee scored a quick fire 19 off 13 balls with the help of two boundaries and Abinash Bohara struck one each four and six in his unbeaten five-ball 11.
Aarif Sheikh took 3-31 for NPC and he was ably supported by Lalit Rajbanshi (2-44) and Dipendra Singh Airee (2-42). Rashid Khan and Sagar Dhakal bagged one wicket each.
In reply, NPC made a horrible start to the run chase losing Kushal Bhurtel (naught) in the second ball of the innings, while opener Sunil Dhamala (three) and Amit Shrestha (eight) also fell cheaply to be 15-3 in four overs. Anil Sah and Pawan Sarraf added 46 runs for the fourth wicket, the highest partnership in the innings. In fact, the NPC lost the last five wickets for a paltry 69 runs in almost 18 overs.
Sarraf top scored with 40 off 61 balls that included two fours and a six, while Dipendra Singh Airee could not live up to the expectations taking 69 balls to score 33 runs.
Rashid Khan struck 34 off 51 balls hitting three boundaries and a six, while Anil Sah scored 44-ball 21 with the help of three fours. Aarif Sheikh hit two fours and a six in his 14-ball 16 and Sagar Dhakal (11) chipped in with 11 off 15 balls that included two boundaries.
After shining with the bat, Bhuvan Karki returned to take 4-21 from 9.2 overs and that also earned him the man-of-the-match award, while Kamal Airee, Abinash Bohara and Sharad Vesawkar bagged two wickets each for APF.
The second semi-final between TAC and Bagmati is slated for Thursday, while the final math will be played on Saturday.