Army crowned champions
- Senior One-Day National Cricket
Mar 25, 2015-
Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) claimed their first ever Senior One-Day National Cricket Tournament title with victory over departmental archrivals Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club on Tuesday.
Electing to field first at the TU grounds, young TAC seamers made short work of an experienced APF batting line-up, restricting them to 164-9 in the final reduced to 45 overs due to wet outfield conditions. Half century from Naresh Budhayer and a gritty innings from skipper Binod Bhandari guided TAC to 169-5 with 25 balls to spare.
It was TAC’s first National title in the 50-over cricket after making their debut two years earlier. TAC had already signalled their arrival as one of the powerhouse in domestic cricket winning Twenty20 Nationals in the debut year. Along with the title, TAC pocketed Rs 200,000 while APF collected Rs 125,000.
APF boasted a strong and experience batting but were quickly pushed to back foot when Sompal Kami bowled Paresh Lohani and Avinash Karn trapped Subash Khakurel leg before to make the score 6-2 in the second over. Skipper Paras Khadka, playing his first and only match of the tournament, tried to rebuild APF innings with a 44-run stand for the third wicket with Pradeep Airee. Khadka made 18 off 35 with three fours before he was removed by Rahul Kumar BK at 50-3.
Sagar Pun and Jitendra Mukhiya picked up two wickets each to further derail APF to 85-7 in 23.3 overs. Pun got the prized wicket of Airee, who made 33 off 38 with five fours and a six. It was now all about avoiding a seemingly collapse with Gyanendra Malla and Basanta Regmi coming to the rescue.
Malla and Regmi shared 47 runs for the eighth wicket lifting APF to a respectable total. Malla made 24 off 42 balls, while Regmi remained unbeaten on 37 off 63 ball with three boundaries and a six. Mukhiya took 3-22 while Karn (2-40) and Pun (2-29) shared four wickets between them.
TAC began their chase with tournament’s most consistent batsmen in Anil Mandal--who had three centuries in the tournament--and Mahesh Chhetri, who slammed a ton in their semi-finals against Region 6 Baitadi. However, Chhetri was left stunned when Paresh Lohani, at point, took a smart one-handed catch to dismiss the opener for a duck.
Mandal (15) followed soon losing his wicket to Aarif Sheikh. Bhandari, who promoted himself at No 3, consolidated the innings sharing 54 runs for the third wicket. Bhandari hit two sixes and three boundaries in his 52-ball 48. After Bhandari’s departure, TAC were reduced to 107-5 in 27.3 overs as they lost the wickets of Sunam Gautam (10) and BK (one).
Budhayer then defied APF bowlers with his patient innings and together with Rajesh Pulami Magar shared an unbeaten 62 runs for the sixth wicket to hand TAC the title. Magar made 35 off 49 balls with four boundaries and a six, while man-of-the-final Budhayer signed off with his first half century (53 off 97) of the tournament with three boundaries and a six. He completed his half century with a six off the last ball of the innings from Dipendra Chaudhary.
TAC skipper Bhandari credited his bowlers for the victory adding: “Budhayer played right innings at a right time. We are good as a unit and we will look to dominate domestic cricket.” Budhayer was happy with his contribution. “I was not able to put big total on the board in this tournament and its good to deliver in a big match,” said Budhayer.
APF skipper Paras Khadka knew where it all went wrong. “We didn’t have enough runs on the board. A 220-230 could have been a better total but we didn’t get the momentum that we had wanted,” said Khadka.
Chhetri was named the player of the tournament and pocketing Rs 30,000, while Kamal Airee (bowler) and Yogendra Karki (emerging player) of Baitadi along with Mandal (batsman) were the other individual winners.
Published: 25-03-2015 08:46