Saurav Khanal completed a fighting half century, hared to take two catches and picked up two wickets, walked away with man-of-the-match but still his side lost. Saurav was a sorry man for the day.
Despite an all round performance from Saurav, his team Region No 4 (Bhairahawa), lost to Region No 8 (Pokhara) by two wickets in the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament Group ‘A’ match at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds on Thursday.
The day revolved around Saurav whose 50 from 99 lifted Bhairahawa to 172-8 in 50 overs. Pokhara had a perfect start in their chase but Saurav ignited some hopes picking up two wickets and taking two catches but still he couldn’t stop the opponents reach 175-8 in 48.5 overs.
Openers Khem Raj Poudel and Sajosh Bhattarai led a strong Pokhara reply with a 56-run stand that ended with the dismissal of the latter by Rahul Bhattarai. Sanjosh made 31 off 50 hitting six boundaries.
Khem Raj added another 38 with Akash Thapa but Saurav dismissed both batsmen in his consecutive overs to bring Bhairahawa back in the game. Khem Raj made 24 from 88 with three fours and Akash hit two sixes and a four in his 33-ball 23.
While new man Keshav Khatri stayed firm, he watched his non striker’s lose one after another wicket as Pokhara were reduced to 129-7 in 41.3 overs. Keshav’s innings came to an end when he handed a catch to Saurav off Kushal Bhurtel that saw the match hang in balance at 155-8.
Keshav top scored for Pokhara with 36 from 61 in an innings studded with three fours and a six. Santosh Upadhyaya, however, kept his cool and along with Dipesh Shrestha (eight not out) shared unbeaten 20 runs as Pokhara sailed home.
Earlier, Shankar Rana was the lone fighter from Bhairahawa top order making 22 from 38 that saw him strike three boundaries. Bhairahawa were 58-5 when Saurav joined the crease and bit-by-bit collected what could have been precious runs had his team won.
Saurav shared 45 runs for the sixth wicket with Eklakh Ahmed (20 off 54) and another 44 with Suman Adhikari (15 off 32). His innings finally came to an end after making 50 off 99 with two sixes and as many boundaries. Rahul Bhattarai played a 14-ball cameo of 15 not out taking team to 172.
Santosh Upadhyaya and Sushil Kandel picked up two wickets each for Pokhara with Dipesh Shrestha, Rajesh Lamsal, Bipin Khatri and Khem Raj picking up one each.