Bhandari hits ton as Army hammer Gandaki in opener


Skipper Binod Bhandari scored a century as Tribhuvan Army Club outplayed Gandaki Province by 98 runs in the opening match of the Prime Minister Cup Men’s National Cricket Tournament here at the TU Stadium today.

Electing to bat first, the departmental side amassed 287-6in their allotted 50 overs before packing Gandaki for 189 runs with 12 balls to spare, thanks to five-wicket haul from Rajesh Pulami, in the Group A match.

TAC made a mediocre start after skipper Bhandari won the toss.

Openers Kari Krishna Jha and Raju Rijal put on 63 runs in 18.4 overs before TAC lost three quick wickets to be 78-3. Jha departed for 14, while Rijal struck four boundaries and a six in his 71-ball 45 and Rohit Kumar Paudel (10) fell cheaply. TAC were reduced to 111-4 after Bhim Sharki fell for run-a-ball 15.

Skipper Bhandari then took the charge and was involved in two crucial partnerships. He shared a 73-run stand with Rajesh Pulami for the fifth wicket and combined with Lokesh Bam to add 103 runs for the sixth.

Bhandari, who was later named the man of the match, remained unbeaten on 111 off just 76 balls that included nine boundaries and five sixes.

Pulami struck four sixes in his 52- ball 38, while Bam scored 42 off 30 balls with the help of three boundaries and two sixes as TAC added 103 runs in the last 10 overs. Bipin Khatri and Bishal Paudel took two wickets each for Gandaki, while Deepesh Khatri and Chandra Paudel grabbed one apiece. In reply, Gandaki lost opener Deepesh Khatri (one) with just seven runs on the board. Another opener Arjun Kumal and Sameer Kandel revived the innings with 52- run stand for the second wicket before the former departed for 54-ball 36 that included six boundaries. Kandel and Deepak Dumre shared a 60- run partnership for the third wicket to maintain the required run rate. But Gandaki kept on losing wickets at regular interval and they were packed cheaply at the end.

Kandel top completed his half century scoring 90-ball 50 with the help of five boundaries, while Dumre struck four fours in his 45-ball 26.

Skipper Bipin Khatri fought the lonely battle in the latter part on the innings with a watchful knock. He struck two fours and four sixes in his quick fire 37 off 25 balls. Pulami was the pick of the TAC bowlers with the figures of 5-25 from nine overs and he was ably supported by Bhim Sharki (3-26). Aakash Chand and Rohit Paudel grabbed a wicket each.

A total of 10 teams are taking part in the tournament. Nepal APF Club, Province-1 and Karnali Province are the other three teams in Group A, while Nepal Police Club, Bagmati, Lumbini Province, Province-2 and Sudurpashchim are in Group B.