Sagar’s ton after six years takes Armymen into final
- pm cup cricket
Jun 9, 2018-Sagar Pun ended a long drought of century and Bhim Sharki played a gritty knock as Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) entered the final of the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament with a crushing 154-run victory over Province 5 at the TU Stadium on Friday.
Having lost his spot in the national team due to a poor run of form, the opener was under immense pressure to prove himself in the 50-over tournament despite getting good starts in the league stages. And in the first semi-final at the TU grounds, Sagar hit a timely ton leading TAC to an imposing 289-8 in 50 overs. The allrounder then returned to take two wickets as Province 5 were skittled out for just 135 runs in 35.5 overs.
TAC innings initially looked sluggish after Sagar and his opening pair Anil Mandal (19 off 37) took time to settle in the crease in their 52-run first wicket stand. Leg spinner Bikram Bhushal then put the departmental side in back foot with wickets of Anil and Naresh Budhayer (duck) in the 16th over. Raju Rijal (five off 30) struggled before running himself out.
It was Bhim, promoted up the order, who changed the momentum of the match as the youngster scored over run a ball and rotated strike with ease to gather the scoring pace. He went on to forge a 115-run match-winning partnership with Sagar and upped the ante when required.
Sagar completed his century off 132 deliveries and scored a 142-ball 118 with 10 sixes and four boundaries. It was his second century in domestic 50-over national having previously brought against Biratnagar while playing for Bhairahawa in the 2012 One Day National cricket tournament. It was also fourth century of the current edition of the tournament after Hari Bahadur Chauhan of Province No 4, Pradeep Airee and Subash Khakurel of Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club.
More than getting relieved off the pressure, Sagar said it was good to contribute in team’s victory. “I had been getting starts but was not able to convert them into big scores. I got good support from Bhim today and I am happy that I contributed to the team,” said Sagar.
Bhim made a fluent 77 off 53 balls with five boundaries and three sixes. The former U-19 cricketer was happy to show his game in a crucial encounter. “I have a good backing from the team, especially skipper (Binod Bhandari), and all the seniors. I got the opportunity to show my game today and this will give me a good amount of confidence,” said Bhim.
Bhandari, who himself has been in an ominous form, struck a quick fire 37 from 15 balls with four sixes and two boundaries. Krishna Karki (3-55) and Bhushal (2-53) shared five wickets between them for Province 5.
In chase of a huge target against a strong bowling unit, Province 5 played the entire match under pressure and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. A 34-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Antim Thapa (14) and Saurav Khanal (14) was the only bright side for Province 5. Krishna Karki top scored for them with a 29-ball 31 hitting three sixes and two fours.
Shankar Rana was their next best scorer with a 39-ball 23 that included three boundaries and a six. Bikram Sob returned the figures of 3-28 and spinner Sushan Bhari Shrestha kept it tight leaking just 13 runs in five overs picking up three wickets. In the final match on Sunday, TAC will take on the winners of Saturday’s second semi-final between APF and Nepal Police Club.
Tribhuvan Army Club 289-8 in 50 overs (S Pun 118, B Sharki 77; K Karki 3-55, BK Bhushal 2-53) beat Province Five 135 all out in 35.5 overs (K Karki 31 not out, S Sunar 23; B Sob 3-28, S Bhari 3-13)
by 154 runs
Man-of-the-match: S Pun
Published: 09-06-2018 08:45