Maiden national crown for Kathmandu

Kathmandu, April 6:

Region No 3 (Kathmandu) snatched a thrilling one-run victory over defending champions Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) to win the maiden Springwood One Day National Cricket League title here at the Tribhuvan University Stadium today.

Electing to bat first after skipper Paresh Lohani won the toss, Kathmandu were bowled out for 199 runs in 49.3 overs. The target was reduced to 169 in 36 overs in parabola method after rain stopped the match in Bhairahawa’s innings. Bhairahawa were 15-1 in 3.5 overs when rain stopped the play.

Bhairahawa needed 111 runs off 20 overs, the minimum overs to complete a match, in case the rain interrupted the proceedings again. They threw away three quick wickets while trying to maintain the run-rate and came under pressure.

After the middle and tale order patient batting, Bhairahawa needed eight runs off the last over with one wicket in hand. Mohan Thapa and Faizal Khan — who shared an unbroken stand of 31 runs for the last wicket — failed to get the runs needed and were two runs short of the victory.

“It was like a final,” said Kathmandu skipper Paresh Lohani. “We should have won the match little bit earlier and easily, but we missed a couple of catches,” he added. “Bhairahawa fought well, I appreciate them,” said Lohani adding “I am very proud of my boys.”

“This was not our day,” Bhairahawa skipper Shakti Gauchan said. “We were confident of chasing the 200-run target easily, but the weather was not on our side,” he rued. “The top order collapse made us difficult, but we were on our way to victory and the run out of Akash Gupta turned the match around,” he added. “The tail fought bravely, but we could not reach there,” he said.

Rahul Kumar BK top-scored with 36 off 37 balls hitting two fours and a six, while Mohan Thapa remained unbeaten on 29 off 26 balls including a four and a six. Rahul and skipper Shakti had 36-runs stand for the seventh wicket, while Shakti and Antim Thapa shared a partnership of 28 runs for the fifth wicket.

Gauchan was trapped leg before wicket by Sharad Vesawkar for 24 off 40, while

Antim scored 21 off 24 balls hitting a four and a six before being dismissed by Raju Basnet. Vijay Thapa scored 19 off just 12 balls including three boundaries. Pramod Basnet, Raju and Sharad took two wickets each for Kathmandu, while Raj Shrestha claimed one.

Earlier, Kathmandu struggled in imposing the challenging total after a middle-order collapse. Openers Paresh Lohani and Dipendra Chaudhary put on 43 runs before skipper Lohani was caught by Basanta Regmi off Shakti for 10 off 33 balls. Chaudhary was unluckily run out when he slipped on the pitch following Lohani’s denial for a single. He scored 35 off 48 balls including four fours and a six.

Man of the match Sharad and Gyanendra then shared a 91-run partnership for the third wicket before Sharad threw away his wicket by giving a simple return catch to Shakti that ignited the collapse. Sharad hit one four and a six in his 92-ball 44, while Gyanendra top-scored with 60 off 92 balls hitting two fours and a six.

After the 24-run stand for the fourth wicket between Paras Khadka (18) and Gyanendra, Kathmandu lost wickets in regular interval. The last six wickets fell for 33 runs. Basanta Regmi took 3-50 off 9.3 overs, while Shakti and Rahul claimed two wickets each.

Bhairahawa skipper Shakti Gauchan was declared man-of-the-series and received Rs 15,000, while Kathmandu skipper Paresh Lohani and Mehboob Alam of Region No 1 (Biratnagar) won the best batsman and best bowler’s awards respectively. The duo got Rs 10,000 each. The winning team was awarded with Rs 75,000 and the runners up Rs 40,000 along with the trophies.

Member Secretary of National Sports Council Jeevan Ram Shrestha, Vice President of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd Suminder Roy, President of Cricket Association of Nepal Binay Raj Pandey and President of Regional Cricket Development Committee of Region No 3 (Kathmandu) and CAN vice president Upendra Prasad Bhattarai among others gave away prizes to the winners.