APF hammer Mid-western, enter semis
Kathmandu, June 2
Nepal APF Club defeated Mid-western Region by five wickets to enter the semi-finals of the first Prime Minister Cup One-day Men’s National Cricket Tournament here at the Tribhuvan University Stadium today.
Batting first, Mid-western scored 181-8 in 50 overs before the departmental side raced to 184-5 in 28.2 overs. With the victory, APF joined Western Region in the last four from Group A. APF will play against already-eliminated Central Region in the last match of the league round on Saturday. Tribhuvan Army Club and Nepal Police Club have entered the semi-finals from Group B.
In a must-win match to keep their semi-finals hopes alive, Mid-western could not make a desired start. They lost openers Prajwal Shahi (four) and Sushant Thapa (six) with just 16 runs on the board inside nine overs.
Rajbir Singh and wicketkeeper-captain Shubhendu Pandey added 49 runs for the third wicket before the latter was dismissed for 23 off 32 balls that included one each four and six. Bhuwan Karki then reduced Mid-western to 66-5 claiming the wickets of Pranit Thapa Magar (one) and Amar Singh Routela (naught) in two consecutive balls of the 22nd over. Rajbir Singh stayed firm at one end and scored 37 off 76 balls hitting three boundaries.
At one stage, Mid-western were 105-7 in 36 overs before Anupam Singh and Siddhant Shahi revived the innings with a 68-run partnership for the eighth wicket to post a fighting total on the board. Singh struck six boundaries in his 95-ball 56, while Shahi remained unbeaten on 35 off 42 balls that included two each fours and sixes.
Karki was the pick of the APF bowlers with the figures of 3-25 from 10 overs, while Avinash Bohara claimed 2-29. Sandeep Jhora and skipper Gyanendra Malla took one wicket each.
In reply, APF rode on a magnificent half century from Sandeep Sunar to chase the total with ease. After opener Subash Khakurel (12) was dismissed in the fifth over, Sunar and Aasif Sheikh added 92-run partnership for the second wicket to ease the run chase. Sunar struck seven fours and five sixes in his 83-ball 87, while Sheikh scored 40 off 44 balls that included three fours and a six. Prithu Baskota remained unbeaten on 15 off 12 balls hitting two fours.
Routela (2-33) and Bijay Chaudhary (2-19) shared four wickets between them for Mid-western, while Aakash Bista took one wicket. APF batsman Sunar was named the man-of-the-match and received Rs 5,000, while his team earned the victory bonus of Rs 25,000.