Rapti claim Gautam Buddha Cup

KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 15

Rapti defeated Narayani by nine runs in the final of the Gautam Buddha Cup here at the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Stadium today.

Batting first, Rapti posted 143-8 in their allotted 20 overs before restricting Narayani to 134-9. Narayani were cruising towards victory needing 28 runs from the last two overs but Abinash Bohara dealt a twin blow removing top scorer Aarif Sheikh and skipper Karan KC in the penultimate over and the Rapti fielders affected two run outs in the final over to end the campaign as the lone unbeaten side.

Narayani defeated Bagmati in the opening match on Saturday and they made it to the final after Rapti beat Bagmati in the second match. Rapti then outplayed Narayani by one wicket in the last league match on Monday.

Invited to take the first strike, Rapti made a flying start with openers Amit Shrestha and Kushal Bhurtel adding 51 runs inside the first power play before the former was dismissed for 17-ball 18 that included four boundaries. Man of the match Bhurtel top scored for the team with 42 off 31 ball hitting two boundaries and four sixes.

Skipper Binod Bhandari struck four fours and a six in his 21-ball 33, while Sumit Maharjan scored 22 off 25 balls with the help of one each four and six. Sharad Vesawkar (10) was the other batsman to contribute in double figures. Shahab Alam was the pick of the Narayani bowlers taking 3-19, while Sushan Bhari claimed 2-11 and Karan KC pocketed one wicket.

In reply, Narayani made a poor start to the run chase losing opener Raju Rijal (six) with 11 runs on the board before Rit Gautam and Ishan Pandey added 51 runs for the second wicket.

Gautam and Aarif Sheikh then shared a 33-run partnership for third wicket before Narayani lost last seven wickets for 37 runs.

Sheikh top scored with 48 off 31 balls hitting four boundaries and three sixes, while Gautam and Pandey contributed 27 runs each. Gautam struck four boundaries in his 33-ball knock and Pandey hit three fours and a six.

Abinash Bohara was the pick of the Rapti bowlers claiming 3-27 from three overs, while Bhuvan Karki took 2-19. Jitendra Mukhiya and Kamal Singh Airee grabbed one wicket each.

Rapti bowler Abinash Bohara was declared the player of the tournament and he received Rs 45,000. Rapti opener Kushal Bhurtel and Narayani skipper Karan KC were named the best batsman and bowler respectively and they got Rs 25,000 each. Likewise, Narayani’s Shahab Alam was named the emerging player and he earned Rs 15,000.

A total of three teams took part in the tournament organised jointly by Bagmati Province Cricket Association and Chitwan Cricket Association under the sponsorship of Sport development Council of Bagmati Province and managed by Queens Event Management, the organisers of the Pokhara Premier League.

The four-day tournament was the first domestic event since the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. The three teams were formed including the national team players who are currently in the close camp. The tournament was the first event hosted by the Gautam Buddha International Cricket Stadium being constructed under the initiation of Dhurmus Suntali Foundation.