NPC defend Ruslan Cup T20 title

Kathmandu, January 17

Departmental side Nepal Police Club won the title of the second Ruslan Cup Twenty20 Cricket Tournament here at the Tribhuvan University Stadium today.

Defending champions NPC beat last edition’s runners-up Tribhuvan Army Club by four wickets to win the title.

Put into bat first, TAC scored 142-6 before NPC reached 148-6 with six balls to spare.

TAC had a disastrous start with the bat as opener Sagar Pun (one) was caught by Dilip Nath off Lalit Bhandari in the third ball of the innings with just two runs on the board. However, Anil Kumar Mandal (15 off 28 balls) shared a 36-run partnership for the second wicket with Naresh Budhayer, who scored 25-ball 28, to anchor the innings. Mandal hit a four, while Budhayer cracked four boundaries and a six.

A 55-run stand between skipper Binod Bhandari and Rajesh Pulami for the fifth wicket was instrumental for TAC to reach a fighting total. Bhandari hit 40 runs in only 30 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes, while Pulami scored a quick-fire 21-ball 38 that included four boundaries and a six. Sompal Kami remained not out on 13 runs off six deliveries hitting a six.

Lalit Bhandari and Lalit Rajbanshi claimed two wickets each, while Ram Naresh Giri and Manjeet Shrestha shared two wickets between them for NPC.

In reply, NPC reached the target riding on Dipendra Singh Airee’s 42 off 35 balls and Kushal Bhurte’s 34 off 20 balls. Airee smashed four boundaries and a six, while Bhurtel’s innings included three sixes.

NPC had a mediocre run chase after opener Dilip Nath (24 off 18) and Sunil Dhamala (eight) put on 32 runs. But they lost three quick wickets inside six overs with just 32 runs on the board.

However, man-of-the-match Airee added 24 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Manjeet Shrestha (15) and highest partnership of 58 runs with Bhurtel for the sixth wicket to chase down the total.

Siddhant Lohani, who scored nine runs in four balls, finished the game in style by hitting a six when NPC needed only one run in last seven balls. Jitendra Mukhiya and Bikram Sob claimed two wickets each and Avinash Karn picked up one wicket for TAC.

Champions NPC earned Rs 300,000, while runners-up TAC got Rs 200,000 along with trophies and medals.

Sunil Dhamala of NPC was named the player-of-the-tournament and won two flight tickets of Thailand, a mobile set and one year’s subscription of The Himalayan Times.

TAC’s Sagar Pun (151 runs) and Jitendra Mukhiya (nine wickets) won the awards of the best batsman and the bowler respectively and got Mountain flight tickets, mobile sets and one year’s subscription of The Himalayan Times.

NPC’s Aarif Sheikh won the award of Babaal catch, while Kushal Bhurtel received the award of maximum sixes for hitting six sixes and TAC’s Rajesh Pulami was the winner of fastest fifty award as he had hit half century in 20 balls. They all got mobile sets and three month’s subscription of The Himalayan Times.

Jawalakhel Group of Industries Director Shreehar SJB Rana, Chief of Brand Sushil Prasad Shrestha, tournament coordinator Rajaram Tandukar and Chief Operating Officer of Cricket Association of Nepal Chhumbi Lama handed over the prizes to the winners of the tournament organised by Kathmandu Cricket Training Centre.