Kathmandu lift U-19 trophy

Kathmandu, June 9:

Sharad Vesawkar scored a half century and took two wickets as Region No 3 (Kathmandu) beat Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) by 16 runs to win the Wai Wai Under-19 National Cricket League at the TU Stadium.

Electing to bat first in the rain-shortened 26-over-a-side match, Kathmandu were bowled out for 110 runs in 22.4 overs. In reply, Bhairahawa threw away a chance to win the title three consecutive times and were packed for 94 runs, thanks to a couple of run outs.

Kathmandu were jolted early on when Bal Bahadur Thapa removed Subhash Khakurel (5) in the second over. Thapa then bowled Dipen Shrestha (6) in his next over making it 14/2. Vesawkar added 15 runs for the third wicket with Gyanendra Malla (6) before Malla become the third victim of Bal Bahadur (3-23).

Skipper Paras Khadka joined Vesawkar and the duo added 45 runs for the fourth wicket before Paras (20) was dismissed by Sagar Khadka who also sent back Avay Rana (2). At 74/4 Kathmandu looked in total control, but they lost last five wickets — that included three run outs — for just eight runs.

Vesawkar scored 52 off 49 balls included four boundaries and a six, before giving a simple return catch to Rahul Kumar BK (2-16).

Paras shook Bhairahawa early on with two wickets in his first over — second over of the innings — with just two runs on board.

Subash Pradhan and skipper Antim Thapa tried to consolidate Bhairahawa innings with a stand of 27 runs, but Rom Shrestha dismissed both the batsmen in the space of one run and kept Bhairahawa reeling at 30/4 in the 10th over.

Sagar Khadka and Akash Gupta added 41 runs for the fifth wicket to make a strong comeback, but a crucial run out of Akash Gupta all but ended their hopes. The remaining five wickets fell for 22 runs with Paras (4-9) and Vesawkar (2-9) claiming two wickets each.

Despite the win, Kathmandu coach Samson Thapa was not happy with his boys’. “In haste they lost wickets and a chance to pose a decent total,” said Thapa.

Bhairahawa coach Shankar Rana said that two run outs were the turning point of the match. “The target was not a tough one and we were on course of victory until the run outs changed the course of the game,” Rana said.

Vesawkar was named the man of the match and the series that earned him Rs 20,000 in total, while Bhairahawa’s Antim Thapa was declared the best batsman and Biratnagar’s Santosh Baral took the best bowler’s award. Both Thapa and Baral received Rs 10,000 each. The winning team was awarded with Rs 25,000.