Province-1 claim maiden national crown

DANG, JANUARY 3

Province-1 defeated three-time defending champions Nepal APF Club by six runs in the final of the Sagarmatha Cement PM Cup Women’s National Cricket Tournament here today.

Electing to bat at the proposed Deukhuri International Cricket Stadium in Lamahi, Province-1 posted 105-4 in their allotted 20 overs before restricting APF to 99-7. With the win, Province-1 claimed their first-ever national cricket title, while APF suffered their maiden loss in four editions of the PM Cup. The departmental side faced their third defeat in final.

Province-1 made a strong start with Apsari Begam and skipper Rubina Chhetri putting up 58 runs on the board before both the batters were dismissed in the space of two balls. Skipper Chhetri was the first to go, stumped by Jyoti Pandey off her counterpart Sita Rana Magar for 32-ball 18.

Begam, who was promoted to open the innings in place of regular opener Kajal Shrestha, played aggressively in the opening partnership and struck five boundaries on the way to scoring 34 off 45 balls.

Wicketkeeper Shrestha then held the innings with an unbeaten 29 off just 26 balls that included three boundaries.

Shrestha and Sangita Rai (two not out) scored 14 off just eight balls for the unbroken fifth-wicket partnership. APF skipper Rana Magar claimed 3-17, while Karuna Bhandari grabbed one wicket.

In reply, APF were forced to tamper the batting order after opener Sita Rana Magar injured her ankle while fielding in the last over of Province-1 innings. The team asked Rajmati Airee to open batting with Jyoti Pandey but she fell for a duck in the second over with just two runs on the board.

APF then came under pressure and were reduced t 32-5 inside seven overs. Mamta Chaudhary and Karuna Bhandari steadied the ship and took the team in sight of victory with a 64-run partnership for the sixth wicket. With two set batters in the middle and 10 runs to get from the last five balls, the APF camp sniffed victory and fourth consecutive title.

But the destiny had other ideas. Alisha Khadiya ran Chaudhary out in the second ball of the final over and it was all over for APF. Skipper Rana Magar did come out to bat but it was too late for them to react as she lasted three balls scoring just two runs. Chaudhary top scored with 47-ball 34, while Bhandari remained unbeaten on 26 off 36 balls that included a four.

Opener Pandey also scored in double figures contributing 15-ball 14 with the help of two boundaries. Province-1 skipper Chhetri (2-14) and Alisha Khadiya (2-13) shared four wickets between them, while Sangita Rai claimed a wicket.

Chhetri was later named the player of the match. With the victory, Province-1 received Rs 500,000 along with the trophy, while APF earned Rs 300,000.

Losing semi-finalists Lumbini and Sudurpashchim got Rs 25,000 each.

Sangita Rai of Province-1 was named the player of the series and she earned Rs 21,000, whereas APF duo Jyoti Pandey and Karuna Bhandari were declared the best batter and bowler respectively.

They got Rs 10,000 each.

Member Secretary of National Sports Council Ramesh Kumar Silwal handed over the prizes to the winners.