Khanal bats Western to victory over Central

Kathmandu, May 31

Saurav Khanal’s unbeaten half century guided Western Development Region to a 95-run victory over Central Development Region in Group A match of the first Prime Minister Cup One-day National Men’s Cricket Tournament here at the Tribhuvan University Stadium today.

Western, who had faced a 16-run defeat at the hands of Nepal APF Club in their first match on Monday,  kept their semi-finals hopes alive with the convincing victory. APF and Western have two points each, while Central and Mid-west have one apiece.

Put into bat first, Western scored 202-8 before packing Central for a paltry 109 runs in 40.3 overs.

Central’s Kishore Mahato gave early breakthrough by bowling Western’s Nurdhoj Sen (three) out in the seventh over with only nine runs on the board.

However, Anil Gurung (28) and Bidhan Shrestha (18) added 43 runs for the second wicket to revive the innings before the former was caught by Samsaad Alam off Sashi Kesari in the 20th over. Gurung hammered three boundaries and

a six, while Shrestha hit two boundaries.

At one stage, Western were reeling at 87-5 inside 31 overs after they lost three more wickets for 35 runs. Khanal and Antim Thapa then added 52 runs for the sixth wicket to steady their innings. Khanal hit three boundaries and six sixes in his 58-ball 78, while Thapa was the second highest scorer with 34 off 71 balls that included two boundaries.

Khanal then shared 51-run partnership with Krishna Karki (15) for the seventh wicket to guide Western past 200-run mark. Karki hit one each boundary and six.

Western also became first team to score 200-plus runs in the tournament eclipsing the previous best of 170 runs scored by Far-western Development Region against Nepal Police Club in Group B match.

Central’s Kishore Mahato bagged 3-42, while Nandan Yadav took 2-21. Skipper Sharad Vesawkar and Sashi Kesari claimed one wicket each.

In reply, Central, who shared points with Mid-west on Tuesday after their match was washed out, had a disastrous chase as they lost opener Bhupendra Thapa (six) and Harishankar Shah (three) inside seven overs with only 18 runs on

the board. Central kept losing wickets at regular intervals after poor start and were bowled out cheaply as the batsmen failed to build partnerships.

Ishan Pandey was the highest scorer for Central with 24 off 48 balls, while Kishore Mahato remained unbeaten on 20 off 43 balls.  Both hit one each four and six. Samsaad Alam (15) and Sumit Maharjan (10) also scored in double digits.

Lal Adhikari (3-21) and Rohit Kumar Poudel (3-10) shared six wickets between them, while Bipin Khatri claimed two and Krishna Karki bagged one wicket for Western.

Western’s Saurav Khanal was named the man-of-the-match and got Rs 5,000, while his team received a victory bonus of Rs 25,000.

Khanal, who had scored 90 off 49 against APF, said the tournament was one of the best platforms for him to knock the national team door. “I had been out of field for nearly a year due to injuries which put pressure on me. I returned with a positive thoughts and was hopeful of doing well in the tournament as I had done in the U-19,” said Khanal. “As I am no longer a youth player, I have to play good knocks to prove myself as we are about to play against Hong Kong in the ICC World Cricket League Championship,” added Khanal.

Central skipper Sharad Vesawkar said his side lost the match due to poor batting of the team. “We failed to score runs and were also not able to build up partnership despite the target being an achievable one,” said Vesawkar, adding that his side was positive for the match against APF. “We need to register win against APF to keep our last four hopes alive,” he said.

On Thursday, Western will play against Mid-western.