Skipper Saurav Khanal held his nerve leading New Horizon of Butwal to a successful title triumph of the fourth SPA Cup after a slim seven-run victory over Sunshine College of Bhairahawa in an all-Rupandehi title showdown in Dhangadhi on Saturday.
Contrary to the ordinary Twenty20 finals where even a total below 150 are considered safe, New Horizon posted 171-6 after electing to bat first. The match was alive till the last over when Sunshine needed 16 to win from six balls.
Saurav Khanal gifted a no-ball and a wide as Sunshine needed 14 from six. Man Bahadur Thapa – who had earlier hit six against Shakti Gauchan and Sompal Kami in the 18th and 19th over to keep Sunshine in the game – then launched Saurav for another maximum leaving it 8 to win from three.
With everything possible, Saurav turned the tide when he bowled Man Bahadur to virtually end Sunshine challenge. Saurav then bowled Shaban Ali as Sunshine were 164 all out in 19.5 overs. The New Horizon skipper later walked away with the man-of-the-match award.
Earlier, New Horizon lost opener Nurdhoj Sen (duck) in the third ball before Sandip Sunar and Nirmal Thapa steadied the ship with a 63-run stand. Both batsmen were dismissed in a space of 18 runs after Sandip made 34 off 21 with five fours and a six. Nirmal was cautious in his 38-ball 26 that included three boundaries.
Sompal Kami stepped in and combined for two modest partnerships that guided New Horizon towards a challenging total. He shared 47 for the fourth with Prakash KC (23) and 30 for the fifth with Saurav.
Sompal was out for 40 off 29 hitting three boundaries and two sixes. Saurav did the late damage clobbering two sixes and two fours in his eight-ball 24 not out. Dipendra Yadav picked up two wickets for Sunshine.
Shankar Rana (naught) was calm in Sunshine’s opening wicket stand of 30 that was made possible by Subodh Srivastav. The Indian recruit did the bulk of scoring making 46 off 21 firing five sixes and three fours. But after the dismissal of Srivastav and Bijay Sunar (seven), New Horizon were back in the game.
Another Indian Mayank Yadav and Antim Thapa build on a 67-run stand to weigh in at the better part of the see-saw until Shakti joined the act with two wickets in two balls.
The veteran left arm bowler first removed Mayank for 44 off 27 – with four fours and two sixes – before removing Nischal Chaudhary (duck) as the scores read 129-5 in 15.5 overs.
Shakti was effective in his next over bowling Sabin Shakya and affecting an obstructing the field dismissal of Antim who made 37 off 38 with four boundaries. Man Bahadur waged a late battle making 12-ball 21 but his heroics were not materialized.
Saurav (3-36) and Shakti (3-30) shared six wickets between them. The champions walked away with a cash purse of Rs 500,000 and Sunshine got Rs 225,000. Saurav was also named the player of the series making him richer by Rs 50,000.
Winner :- New Horizon College, Butwal RS 5,00,000
Runner Up :- Sun Shine College, Bhairahawa RS 2,00,000
Player of the Series:- Saurav Khanal, New Horizon College Rs 50,000
Best Batsman :- Amit Shrestha, Sunrise HSS, Kanchanpur Rs 25,000
Best Bowler :- Rahul BK, Pentagon International College Rs 25,000
Best Fielder :- Binod Lama, Durga Laxmi Campus Rs 25,000
Best Foreign Player :- Mayank Yadav, Sun Shine College Rs 25,000
Rising Player :- Bipin Rawal, Kailali Multiple Campus Cricket kit and cycle which was sponsored by Kailorry Veg MoMo centre