Lohani explodes with bat to hand NPC title

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 6, 2016-

Siddhant Lohani exploded with the bat pulling his side from the jaws of defeat as Nepal Police Club (NPC) stunned Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) by three wickets in the final of the first Ruslan Cup Twenty20 cricket tournament on Saturday. 

The title triumph at the TU grounds was also first for NPC who were making a return to domestic cricket after five years. NPC had won the National Twenty20 Cricket Tournament in 2011 when they defeated arch rivals Nepal Armed Police Force Club in a low scoring final. They had made the return with the Youth Twenty20 Championship tournament two months back.

The Armymen failed to capitalise on a modest start before finishing at 130-9 in 30 overs. NPC were seemingly heading towards a defeat at 73-7 by the 15th over but Lohani’s scintillating knock took them to 133-7 in 19.2 overs. The title made NPC richer by Rs 200,000 and runners up TAC took home Rs 100,000.  

NPC required 66 runs to win from 30 balls and former U-19 cricketer Lohani, who was included in the senior squad for last year’s World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Ireland playing just one match (against Jersey), took the final by storm with his brutal hitting. Lohani hit Sagar Pun for two sixes in the 16th over and tear away pacer Sompal Kami for three hit over the fence to turn the tide in just two overs.

Needing 21 runs from the last three, Lohani and Yogendra Karki (15 not out from 10) then dealt with the target sensibly thereafter in their 60-run unbroken partnership for the eighth wicket. Man-of-the-match Lohani struck a 20-ball 47 in an innings that also included a boundary.

No 3 Amit Shrestha made 26 off 29 with one four and a six, while opener Sunil Dhamala (10) was next batsman with double figures.  Chandra Sawad was the pick of the TAC bowlers taking 3-11 from four overs with the only maiden over of the game.

Earlier, Anil Mandal and Sagar Pun (nine) gave TAC a decent start adding 45 runs for the first wicket but their middle order failed to cash in on the partnership. Mandal hit three fours and a six in his 40-ball 32. Raju Rijal (18) and Sharad Vesawkar took the team across triple figures with a 37-run fifth wicket stand before skipper Manjeet Shrestha dismissed both in a space of three runs. 

Vesawkar made 23 off 12 with a four and a six. Kami pushed TAC towards a competitive total with a 10-ball cameo of 20 that included two sixes. Dipendra Airee took 4-16 for NPC. Pun was adjudged the man-of-the-series and walked away with a cash purse of Rs 10,000. Manjeet was declared the best bowler and Dhamala took best batsman’s honour. Both pocketed Rs 8,000 each.

Published: 06-03-2016 10:30

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