Nepalgunj stun Bhairahawa in semi-finals

Kathmandu, March 21:

Region No-V (Nepalgunj) and Region No-II (Birgunj) advanced to the final of the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament today.

Nepalgunj recorded a stunning 22-run victory over Region No-IV (Bhairahawa) in Bhaktapur thanks to Anupam Singh’s half century (52) and a six-wicket haul from Navin Shahi. At Tribhuvan University Stadium, Birgunj defeated Region No-III (Kathmandu) by 18 runs.

Nepalgunj scored a modest 101 in 38.2 overs and restricted Bhairahawa for 79 runs in 35.3 overs. Anupam Singh single handedly guided Nepalgunj past the three figure mark. His dismissal at 99-8 meant, Nepagunj lost their last three batsmen for two runs. Apart from Anupam, only Sandeep Shrestha (19) scored in double figures. Amrit Bhattarai took 4-11 for Bhairahawa while Lal Bahadur Adhikari claimed three and Bal Bahadur Thapa, Sagar Khadka and Sanjay Nepal grabbed one wicket each.

Defending just 101, Nepalgunj opening bowling pair Navin Shahi and Md Shahid Riza ripped through the Bhairahawa top order. Navin and Riza shared shared the top six scalps between them reducing Bhairahawa to 28-6 by the 15th over.

But the seventh wicket stand of 48 runs between Shailesh Shrivastav (29) and Ruhul Kumar BK (17) gave Bhairahawa a slim hopes of unlikely victory before both the batsmen fell in the space of six balls. Man of the match Navin finished with 6-22 while Riza took 2-9 and Pandey claimed 2-16.

In the other semi-final, Birgunj were all out for 145 runs in 45.4 and restricted Kathmandu for 127 in 40.2 overs. Prithu Baskota was the pick of the Kathmandu bowlers with three wickets.

Kathmandu were cruising along nicely at 114-6 by the 33rd over before losing their last five wickets for 13 runs. Earlier, Kathmandu were reeling at 55-5 but Rom Shrestha (34) and Pawan Shrestha (20) brought them close to the victory target. Avinash Karn, who earlier chipped in with 25 runs, was awarded the man of the match award. Karn took 2-16 including a key wicket of Rom. Jattashankar Sarraf claimed 3-26 while Bibek Dali and Hasim Ansari bagged also two wickets each. The final will be played at the TU Stadium on Sunday.