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Army wins maiden title on maiden appearance

Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) halted Nepal APF Club domination in style winning the Pepsi Standard Chartered National Twenty20 Cricket Tournament title – a trophy they have won in their debut in the nationals on Saturday.


Skipper Binod Bhandari made most of a drop catch making difference in a five-wicket win over a star-studded APF in the final reduced to 16-over-a-side due to rain and wet outfield. APF had a strong batting line-up but TAC managed to contain them to 112-7 before reaching 116-5 in 15.2 overs.


APF were gaining an upper hand in the match with TAC requiring 40 off the last 24 balls at 73-4 but a bad over from Shakti Gauchan brought the final at level terms. Binod connected superbly well to hit Shakti at the stands and Rajesh Pulami Magar (12) imitated his captain with another six. After three singles in between and a boundary from Rajesh in the last ball fetched TAC 19 runs.


Paras brought APF back in the match removing Rajesh in the first ball of the 14th over where TAC only managed five runs and the match was decided in the 15th. Basanta Regmi dropped Binod at square leg and the reprieve allowed him to cut loose hitting the paceman for a flat six making eight to win from nine.


Indra Kamal Manandhar (five not out) hit another boundary and two leg byes at the end of the over left TAC with just completing the formalities. Binod sealed it with a boundary off Basanta to ignite a wild celebration in TAC camp. Man-of-the-final Binod was 30 not out off 22 with two boundaries and two sixes.


Anil Mandal (23 off 21), Naresh Budhayer (13) and Sagar Pun (11) also gave important contribution for TAC. Shakti and Paras took two wickets for APF with Bhuwan Karki picking up one.


Earlier, APF were over the moon following their 83-run victory over Region-III (Kathmandu) in the semi-finals on Thursday where they had amassed 143 from just 13 overs but that was not to happen against an Army side that also consisted of national team bowlers.


Pradeep Airee top scored for them with 27 off 31 with two boundaries and a six. Dipendra Chaudhary made sure TAC have to do some hard work making an 11-ball 19. Paras made 16 off nine with two maximum, while Subash Khakurel (14) and Sharad Vesawkar (12) made runs in double figures.


Chandra Saud and Rahul Kumar BK picked up two wickets for TAC. Sagar Pun, Avinash Karn and Rajesh Pulami also had one. 


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