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APF batting comeback floors Prime Minister Cup champions

Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) forged a sensational comeback with the bat to stun Prime Minister Cup champions Tribhuvan Army Club by one wicket in the Mayor’s Cup on Saturday.

At the TU grounds, Army made 235 all out in 50 overs and reduced APF to 87-6. But APF rode on fine innings from Sumit Maharjan, Basanta Regmi, Amar Singh Routela and Shankar Rana to reach 236-9 wit two balls to spare.

The fact that Army squad was bolstered by the return of their Abu Dhabi T10 trio Sompal Kami, Karan KC and Kushal Malla made APF’s victory more sensational. Army had beaten the same side in absence of the three returning juggernauts.

Two wickets from Bikram Sob, an early run out of opener Subash Khakurel and Sompal’s Kami’s duck dismissal of Sharad Vesawkar had APF reeling at 16-4 inside eight over. Sumit Maharjan and Shankar Rana stemmed the rot adding 52 runs for the fifth wicket.

Shankar made 33 off 43 with three fours and a six. APF soon lost Bhuwan Karki (10) to get precariously placed at 87-6 in 24 overs. Just when Army thought they were cruising towards a comfortable victory, APF began their resurgence.

Basanta was at the heart of APF revival as he shared 71 runs for the seventh wicket with Sumit who made a gritty 78-ball 60 with eight hits to the fence.

After Sumit’s departure, Basanta and Amar Singh Routela added 65 runs for the eighth wicket. Amar scored freely hitting four sixes in his 31-ball 38. The allrounder, however, threw his wicket to Bikram Sob trying to hit the fast bowler for second consecutive sixes and handed an easy catch to Sompal at mid-off.

Needing 13 runs from the last 12 deliveries, APF collected six runs in the first five but lost Basanta to Karan KC. He was dismissed for a 79-ball 49 that included three boundaries and a six.

Spinner Sushan Bhari Shrestha bowled the final over beginning with a dot but Abinash Bohora struck a six in the second ball, a fuller one, to ignite a wild celebration in the APF camp. Bhari bowled a dot in the third before APF scampered for a single.

Bikram Sob took three wickets for Army while Karan KC also also had twin scalps.    

Earlier, Army’s total was build around their first half of the batting order that began with the surprise promotion of Sompal Kami. Opening the innings with Lokesh Bam, Sompal added 61 runs for the first wicket before losing his wicket in the 15th over.

The duo started with cautious but Basanta Regmi enticed Sompal to play big shot only to hole out a catch to Aasif Sheikh. Sompal made 28 from 53 with two sixes and as many boundaries.

Amar Singh Routela then picked the wickets of Lokesh and Bhim Sharki (18) reducing them to 94-3. Lokesh made 30 from 51 hitting four boundaries.

Rohit Kumar Paudel then resurrected the Army innings adding 71 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Binod Bhandari and pushing them beyond 200-run mark. Bhandari, who scored just four runs in the first 20 balls he faced, switched gears smashing three sixes and a four in a run-a-ball 42 only to be bowled by Bhuwan Karki.

Bhuwan also bowled dangerous-looking Kushal Malla after the spinner was hit for the day’s biggest six by the youngster. Rohit lost his wicket to Kamal Singh Airee after making a 78-ball 56 with three boundaries.

APF also bowled 27 extra runs to boost the Army total. Abinash Bohora took 3-41 from 10 overs with all of his wickets coming in the final over of the innings.  

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