Kathmandu beat Birgunj in semis

Kathmandu, November 5:

Bijay Gautam and Nasim Akhtar took two wickets apiece as Region No 3 (Kathmandu) defeated Region No 2 (Birgunj) by four wickets to enter the final of the Pepsi U-15 National Cricket Tournament here today.

Batting first after skipper Aakash Singh Pariyar won the toss, Birgunj were all out for a paltry 51 runs in 17 overs. Their major share of the runs came from the extras — 20. Apart from Pariyar, who scored 13 off 25 balls, others failed to reach the double figure mark.

The 11-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Sagar Gupta and Bibek Dali was the highest of their innings. Gautam, who took last two wickets in consecutive balls, finished with 4-4 off three overs, while Akhtar claimed 4-18 in six over. Ritesh Singh and Prajesh Bahadur Shahi pocketed one wicket each. Kathmandu skipper Akhtar used four bowlers including himself and no one returned empty handed.

Chasing a low total, Kathmandu lost opener Bijay Gautam in the second over to Shah Nawaz Ali with just four runs on the board. Bibek Dali then claimed the four of the five wickets that fell afterwards. Aashiq Sharma departed scoring two runs, making it 19/2 in the ninth over. Prajesh Bahadur Singh even could not open his account, while Ayush Rana fell in the 11th over scoring nine runs, the second highest of the innings.

Raju Thapa Magar and Rochak Bhatta guided Kathmandu home after Ritesh Singh was dismissed by Dali and Nasim Akhtar was run out. Magar remained unbeaten on 11 off 34 balls, while Bhatta was not out on one. For Birgunj, Dali finished with 4-23 off seven over, while Shah Nawaz Ali took 1-4 in his four-over spell. Kathmandu skipper Nasim Akhtar was declared the man of the match.

In Wednesday’s final, Kathmandu will take on Bhairahawa, who defeated Region No 1 (Biratnagar) on Sunday.