Ansari’s maiden ton in vain

Kathmandu, June 3

Hasim Ansari of Central Region scored the first century of his career but fell on the losing side as Nepal APF Club registered a six-wicket victory in the first Prime Minister Cup One-day Men’s National Cricket Tournament here at the TU Stadium today.

Central Region, who were already out of the semi-finals race, were bowled out for 187 in 48.3 overs before the departmental side raced to 188-4 with 16 overs to spare. The result meant, APF topped Group A with six points, while Western Region finished runners-up with four.

Central innings revolved around Ansari’s knock as he did not get support from the other end. The stand-in skipper Ansari hammered 12 boundaries and a six in his 124-ball 101. He reached half century in 79 balls and hit the three figures from 122 balls. Regular captain Sharad Vesawkar did not include him in the starting eleven.

Sonu Tamang, who hit two each fours and sixes in his 20-ball 27, and Rashid Khan (11) were the other two Central batsmen to score in double figures. Skipper Gyanendra Malla was the pick of the APF bowlers taking 4-40 from 10 overs, while Avinash Bohara (2-40) and Bhuvan Karki (2-21) shared four wickets between them. Yagyaman Kumal and Sundeep Johra pocketed one wicket each.

In reply, APF chased down the total with ease after their top order added crucial runs. Openers Sandeep Sunar and Aasif Sheikh added 38 runs seven overs before the latter was bowled by Sashi Keshari for 22 off 32 balls that included four boundaries.

Sunar and Anil Sah then shared a 53-run partnership for the second wicket before APF lost three quick wickets in the space of 26 runs to be 115-4. Keshari bowled Sunar and trapped Prithu Baskota (two) leg before the wicket, while Pradeep Airee (one) was run out. Sunar departed after scoring 41 off 47 balls with the help of six fours.

Sah and skipper Malla took the team home without further loss adding 73 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket. Sah remained unbeaten on 78 off 85 balls that included 11 fours and two sixes, while man-of-the-match Malla hit three boundaries and a six in his 30-ball 28 not out. Central’s Keshari returned with 3-42 from 10 overs.

In Monday’s semi-final match, Nepal APF Club will take on Group B runners-up Nepal Police Club, while Group B winners Tribhuvan Army Club will play against Group A runners-up Western Region in the  second semi-final match on Tuesday.