NPC edge past Lumbini; APF hammer Gandaki


Sunil Dhamala scored a century and Pawan Sarraf hit the fastest half century as Nepal Police Club defeated Lumbini by 74 runs, while Nepal APF Club beat Gandaki Province by six wickets in the PM Cup Men’s National Cricket Tournament here today.

Defending champions NPC amassed 310-4 in their allotted 50 overs before restricting Lumbini to 236-7 in the Group B match at the TU Stadium. With their second win in three matches, NPC moved to second behind Bagmati Province, who are tied on four points from two matches. Lumbini are third with two, while Province-2 and Sudurpashchim are yet to open their accounts.

NPC opener Dhamala completed his century on his way to scoring 104 off 14 balls that included seven fours and a six.

Dhamala, who was later named the man-of-the-match, shared a 57-run partnership for the second wicket with Amit Shrestha (28) and added 129 runs for the third wicket with Dipendra Singh Airee, who struck a four and six sixes in his 61-ball 85.

Aarif Sheikh and Pawan Sarraf then scored 54 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket off the last 14 balls to take the team total past 300-run mark. Sarraf completed his half century off just 13 balls hitting a four and six sixes, while Sheikh remained unbeaten on 14-ball 29 that included two each fours and sixes.

On his way to hitting the fastest half century in national cricket, Sarraf hit Saurav Khanal for 28 runs in the last over — three sixes in the first three balls, two doubles before ending the innings with a six.

Krishna Karki, Anil Kharel, Dipendra Rawat and Saurav Khanal took one wicket each. Khanal was the most expensive bowler as he conceded 38 runs in his two-over spell.

In reply, Lumbini recovered well after losing openers Sandeep Sunar and Sushant Thapa early on but the target was too huge for them. A couple of batsmen got good starts but they failed to convert their knocks into big ones. Saurav Khanal scored a quick fire 74 off 60 balls hitting six fours and five sixes, while Dev Khanal struck seven boundaries in his 71-ball 49. Sandeep Rajali scored 40 with the help of six fours, while skipper Krishna Karki remained unbeaten on 24-ball 40 hitting five sixes.

Rashid Khan and Pawan Sarraf took two wickets each for NPC, while Lalit Rajbanshi, Sagar Dhakal and Dipendra Singh Airee claimed one apiece.

At Mulpani Cricket Grounds, Gandaki were bowled out for a paltry 106 runs before APF raced to 107-4 with 194 balls to spare. Opener Sameer Khanal top scored for Gandaki with 36 off 114 balls hitting two fours, while Bishnu Pandey (15), Deepesh Khatri (15) and Dinesh Budhamagar (12) were the other batsmen who contributed in double figures.

Kamal Airee was the pick of the APF blowers taking 4-11, while Abinash Bohara (2-18) and Sharad Vesawkar (2-22) shared four wickets between them. Kishore Mahato also grabbed a wicket for the departmental side.

In reply, Asif Sheikh scored a quick fire 78 off just 56 balls with the help of five boundaries and six sixes, while Sumit Maharjan contributed 18.

APF lost opener Subash Khakurel and Rit Gautan at the hands of Chandra Paudel in the first two legal deliveries of the innings to be 2-2, before Sheikh and Maharjan shared a 73-run partnership for the third wicket to take the team towards victory.

Sheikh and skipper Sharad Vesawkar (five not out) added 25 runs for the fourth wicket to tie the scores before the former was trapped leg before the wicket by Bishal Paudel, who returned with the figures of 2-19.

With their second straight win, APF accumulate four points from two matches and are behind fellow departmental side Tribhuvan Army Club, who are the top with maximum six points from three matches. Karnali and Gandaki have two points each, while Provicne-1 have faced defeats in all three matches.