Region No 3 (Kathmandu), Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) and defending champions Nepal APF Club registered their second consecutive victory in the Pepsi Standard Chartered National Twenty20 Cricket Tournament on Friday.
In Group ‘B’, APF hammered Region No 2 (Birgunj) by 72 runs with an all round performance. With fair contribution from batsmen, APF made 148-5 at Pulchowk Engineering College. Skipper Paras Khadka, Bhuwan Karki, Basanta Regmi and Shakti Gauchan then picked up two wickets each as Birgunj only managed 72-8 in 20 overs.
The only bright side for Birgunj in the match was a 39-run partnership for the third wicket between opener Amit Shrestha and Bikram Basnet. Amit made 26 off 38 with four boundaries and Bikram hit three fours in his 20 off 28. Other Birgunj batsmen failed to reach double figures.
Earlier, Sharad Vesawkar and Basanta upped the ante for APF collecting 58 runs from the last 6.2 overs lifting the team from 97-5 after 13.4 overs. Sharad top scored with a 22-ball 32 hitting two sixes and as many boundaries and man-of-the-match Basanta clobbered four boundaries in his 18-ball 26.
Subash Khakurel made 29 off 15 with four fours and a six, while Gyanendra Malla made 24 off 25 with two fours and a six up the order. Binod Das took two wickets for Birgunj.
APF share the top spot with Nepalgunj on four points each in Group ‘B’ after the latter overcame Region No 1 (Biratnagar) by six wickets with opener Mahesh Chhetri slamming his back-to-back half century in the tournament.
Batting first, Biratnagar made 118-8 before Mahesh’s unbeaten 56 off 54 guided Nepalgunj to 119-4 in 19 overs. Mahesh shared 81 runs for the third wicket with Anupam Singh to lay the foundation for victory.
Mahesh hit four boundaries, while Anupam made 38 off 40 with three hits to the fence. Mehboob Alam picked up 2-8 for Biratnagar with his spin bowling. Earlier, Sunny Pun hit two sixes and two fours on his way to make 36 off 40 for Biratnagar.
Rabi Roy was their next best scorer with 19 runs. Nasir Ansari, Nijamuddin Halwai and Amar Singh Rautela took two wickets each for Nepalgunj.
Kathmandu defeated Region No 9 (Mahendranagar) — playing their first match in national cricket – by 42 runs to stay at the top of Group ‘A’ with four points. Kathmandu made 148-7 and stopped Mahendranagar at 106-5 at the TU Stadium.
Mahendranagar were hit hard by early dismissals and they found the runs hard to come after some disciplined attack from Kathmandu bowlers. Dipendra Airee made 32 off 26 for the new region hitting four boundaries and Surendra Chand scored 25 off 30.
Earlier, a composed batting from Bivatsu Thapa and some attacking knock from Niraj Bhattarai at the end of the innings steadied Kathmandu. Bivatsu top scored with 40 off 47 with four boundaries, while Niraj bludgeoned 33 from just 15 balls that included three fours and two sixes.
Binod Khatri, Lalit S Bhandari and Sagar Joshi took two wickets each for Mahendranagar.
In the second match at the same venue, Region No 8 (Pokhara) filed their first victory after their batsmen made merry at the pitch in a 50-run win over Region No 7 (Janakpur). Pokhara made 186-5 and restricted Janakpur to 136-9.
After opener Santosh Gurung, Anil Gurung and Amrit Shrestha made some quick runs, Dipesh Khatri gave Janakpur bowlers a day to forget hammering an unbeaten 50 off just 21 balls. Dipesh hit four sixes and three boundaries in his scintillating knock.
Santosh made 46 off 40 with five fours and two sixes, Anil made a 29-ball 23 with three boundaries and Amrit struck four boundaries and a six in his 22-ball 33. Janakpur barely settled in the match and the most they did was a 48-run stand for the fourth wicket between Raj Mohammed and Abhishek Jha.
Raj made 38 off 34 with five boundaries and Abhishek hit 39 off 25 with three sixes and two boundaries. Dipesh, Krishna Bastola, Nischal Pandey and Sushil Kandel took two wickets each for Pokhara.