Bhairahawa set date with Birgunj

BHAKTAPUR: Allrounder Nischal Pandey shone with bat and ball as Region-IV (Bhairahawa) cruised to the final of the Boost Under-16 National Cricket League with a comfortable eight wicket win over Region-III (Kathmandu) here at the Birendra Sainik Awasiya Mahavidhyalaya grounds today.

Bhairahawa will play for the championship against Region-II (Birgunj) on Thursday. Birgunj, who are yet to play one more league match, advanced to the final as the league winners with eight points. Bhairahawa also have eight points from five matches but have weaker nett run-rate. Region-V (Nepalgunj) and Kathmandu both have four points but can not catch up with Bhairahawa with just one match left. Region-I (Biratnagar) finished last after losing their fifth consecutive match against Region-V (Nepalgunj) by three wickets at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds today.

Electing to bat first, Kathmandu were bundled out for a paltry 66 runs in 27 overs thanks to Nischal and Nabin Shrestha who shared eight wickets between them. Opener Dilman Rokka top scored with 19 runs while Roshan Khatri made 15 and skipper Nupur Pandey chipped in with 10 runs. Nischal claimed 5-11 from eight overs and Nabin took 3-28 off seven overs. Two Kathmandu batsmen were run out.

Bhairahawa had a disastrous run-chase when Bijay Rokaya bowled opener Swichan Shah in the first ball of their innings. However, Shah’s opening partner Nischal battled brilliantly to see his team home in 13.3 overs.

Nischal, who was named man-of-the-match for his alround

display, scored run-a-ball 37

with five hits to the fence.

Skipper Kiran Pandey made unbeaten 16 off 10 balls which included one six and a four. Ram Krishna Jaishwal dismissed Satish Bhagat (nine), the only other Bhairahawa wicket to fall.

At the Pulchowk grounds, Biratnagar were all out for 109 runs in 22.3 overs thanks to a fiery spell from Saud Ahmed Ansari before Nepalgunj surpassed the total losing seven wickets in 29 overs. Biratnagar were indebted to their captain Hari Chaulagain in reaching three-figure mark as he scored a swift 32 off 29 balls. Lilan Kharel also contributed unbeaten 18 lower down the order and Rimesh Regmi made 15-ball 14. Man-of-the-match Saud Ahmed finished with figures of 6-14 from eight overs and Karamat Khan took 3-38 off seven overs.

Nepalgunj had a shaky run chase losing wickets in regular interval but opener Prajwal Shahi held firm to bring his side close to victory. Prajwal made a patient 31 off 79 balls and was the fifth man out in the 24th over with Nepalgunj needing further 29 runs.

Rupak Nepali and Greesthi Rokka contributed 13 and 12 runs each to ease their run chase. Sumit Chandra Dev was the pick of the Biratnagar bowlers with 3-18 while Hari Chaulagain bagged two and Mehboob Babu Iraqui one wicket.