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Lokesh Bam: The winner from a losing side

Dec 22, 2019 | CN Staff |

Adarsha Dhakal, Pokhara

Lokesh Bam is yet to be tested at a higher level. But he almost pulled Biratnagar Titans from the jaws of defeat taking his team close to victory by what could be described as one of the best innings by a batsman from the losing side.

Title contenders Chitwan Rhinos already had their one foot in the victory when they reduced Titans to 37-6 in defense of 145-4 in 20 overs. But what unfolded in front of them was next to surreal. Had Lokesh only crossed the finishing line, his innings would have gone down to history as one of the greatest innings played in domestic franchise Twenty20 cricket.

As victory shadows losing side's performance, his innings on Sunday will be forgotten by many who witnessed Lokesh's fireworks that included some of the best shots played during the tournament. Requiring 35 runs of the last 18 deliveries, defeat looked inevitable considering the way Lokesh was batting.

He had already forged a 77-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Puneet Mehra who came into the match after two consecutive half centuries – one for a winning cause. Rhinos' UAE recruit Rohan Mustafa then bowled Puneet (24) and new man Jitendra Mukhiya in a space of three balls and conceded just two in that over.

Now needing 33 runs from 12 balls, Rhinos had heart in their mounth when Lokesh perfectly connect one over-pitched and another bouncer for consecutive sixes. All eyes were fixed on what Lokesh was doing next with just 21 more to win from 10 balls. Karan cunningly enticed Lokesh for another pull but the batsman was beaten by the pace and handed a simple catch to wicketkeeper Anil Kumar Sah, thus brining an end to a magnificent innings.

Such was the youngster's performance that he was even applauded by the opponents including Rhinos skipper Paras Khadka. "Lokesh played exceptionally well. He put us under a lot of pressure and almost single handedly pulled the game," Paras said after the match.

The former Nepal captain was in awe of the performance from Nepali youngsters in the tournament. "We have seen how the young players are performing this tournament especially the guys like Aarif and today it was Lokesh. I am very happy for him," said Paras.

The batsman from Far Western region has been currently playing at the youth set up representing Nepal at quite a few tournaments but drew attention after striking four crispy boundaries in the U-19 team's match against Marylebone Cricket Club at the TU Stadium on November 3 this year.

That was the match where the Nepali youth team notched up an impressive 296-6 while chasing 335 runs against the visitors. MCC captain Jimmy Adams was impressed with the bunch of Nepali youngsters who played that game and Lokesh was one of the few cricketers whom he mentioned.

Lokesh, no doubt, is the one who needs to be mentioned. His body language while fielding looks impressive and as he has already exhibited what he can come up with against a decent bowling attack like that of Rhinos, he is the one who should be planned of. On Sunday, Lokesh struck five sixes and as many boundaries in a 36-ball 62.

"We get very excited by just one innings. I know that Lokesh has been doing very well and has done a lot of hard work to be here. He needs to consistently keep performing at this level because we have seen how youngsters are making into the national team by their display in the franchise leagues," Paras said.

Still at the U-19 level, Lokesh has a long way to go. Sunday's innings delivered the notion that he too exists in Nepali cricket. His exuberant celebration after reaching a 32-ball half century said it all. Despite being in a losing side, he has already begun his story.

Lokesh Bam's fierce innings video against Chitwan Rhinos 


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