Biratnagar, Bhairahawa win

KATHMANDU: Region-I (Biratnagar) and Region-IV (Bhairahawa) kept their hopes of making into the final alive with wins in the Springwood Twenty20 National Cricket Tournament here at the Tribhuvan University (TU) Stadium on Sunday.

Biratnagar crusied to an eight-wicket win over Region-V (Nepalgunj) while Bhairahawa struggled to a three-wicket win over Region-VI (Baitadi). Both Biratnagar and Bhairahawa have six points with one game left. The two teams meet on Tuesday and the winner of the match will join Region-III (Kathmandu) in final. Region-II (Birgun), Baitadi and Nepalgunj are out of the contention. Birgunj have two points from four matches while Baitadi and Nepalgunj have yet to earn points with two matches left.

Electing to bat first, Nepalgunj were all out for 75 runs in 19.1 overs and Biratnagar overcame the total losing two wickets in 14 overs. Tajuddin Halwai

top scored for Nepalgunj with 23 off 46 balls while Subendu Pandey and Nasir Ansari chipped in 17 and 10 runs respectively. Mehboob Alam (2-11), Ajay Rajbanshi (2-12), Kundan Singh (2-11) and Raj Kumar Pradhan

(2-16) took two wickets each for Biratnagar. Manjeet Shrestha also picked

up one wicket.

Biratnagar had a terrible start losing openers Mehboob Alam (10) and Sunny Pun (naught) in the first over bowled by Nasir Ansari (2-17) but man of the match Ajay Rajbanshi and Puspa Thapa guided their team safely home with six overs to spare. Ajay scored a composed 27 off 43 balls while Puspa struck a fluent 36 from 38 balls.

In the day’s other match, Baitadi made a lowly 76-9 in their allotted 20 overs before Bhairahawa surpassed the total for the loss of seven wickets in 17.5 overs. Pradeep Airee struck two sixes to top score with 18-ball 20 for Baitadi. The only other Baitadi batsman to reach the double figure mark was opener Prem Chaudhary (13). Bhiarahawa skipper and man of the match Shakti Gauchan was the pick of the bowlers with 3-7. Rahul Kumar BK also claimed 2-37 while Lal Bahadur Adhikari (1-7) and Basanta Regmi (1-12) bagged one wicket apiece.

In reply, Sagar Pun anchored the Bhairahawa innings with a labourious 33 from 50 ball, hitting one six and as many four. Sagar was the last Bhairahawa batsman to be dismissed with only two runs needed for victory. Although Bhairahawa lost wickets at the regular intervals, Sagar stood firm at the other end ensuring his team’s victory. Apart from Sagar no other Bhairahawa batsman reached the double figure mark. Chandra Saud took 3-10 and skipper Dhirendra Chand claimed 2-15 for Baitadi. Prem Budal and Bhuwan Karki also grabbed one wicket each.