Jitendra Mukhiya capped a pleasant comeback giving a man-of-the-match performance to lead Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) to a slim two-wicket victory over Region-I (Biratnagar) in the Senior One Day National Cricket Tournament on Monday.
Jitendra was returning to ground for his first official tournament after the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March, 2014. He had aggravated a hamstring injury before suffering a back pain which forced him to live a life in exile undergoing treatment in Mumbai.
His comeback was even a far-fetched idea after he suffered from typhoid and had to take a one-month rest in bed. Jitendra, who still looks sluggish, gave a performance that was enough in bundling out Biratnagar for 191 in 47.4 overs.
TAC had the half centuries from Anil Mandal and Mahesh Chhetri to thank for who overcame ups and downs to reach 192-8 in 43 overs.
The day belonged to Jitendra who picked up the key wickets of opener Sunny Pun (26) and unpredictable all rounder Mehboob Alam (eight) unsettle Biratnagar who were quickly reduced to 65-6 in 23.2 overs.
Hard hitting all rounder Manjeet Shrestha was looking ominous hitting two sixes and three boundaries but Jitendra ended his 64-run partnership with Jugal Chaudhary with the wicket of the former. Manjeet made 37 off 48. Jugal top scored with 43 off 62 hitting seven fours. Lakpa Lama pushed the total close to 200 with a 37-ball 29 that included three boundaries.
Jitendra’s figures read 4-19 from nine overs. Avinash Karn and Rahul Kumar BK also picked up two wickets each for TAC. Sunam Gautam and Rajesh Pulami Magar also took one wicket each.
If TAC’s bowling had Jitendra’s story to tell, the batting line-up spoke of Sunam who returned from Australia where he is in abroad studies and playing club cricket and took to the field for the youngest departmental side.
It was, however, an unforgettable day for Sunam making 11 off eight hitting two boundaries before losing his wicket to Alam. Having already lost opener Naresh Budhayer (three), TAC were 15-2 before Anil Mandal and skipper Binod Bhandari (eight) took the team close to 50.
After Binod’s departure, Mahesh stepped in to forge two crucial partnerships that shaped TAC chase.Anil made departed after making 54 off 75 with five fours and a six but Mahesh carried on sharing another 35 with Rajesh.
Mahesh posted a match-high 61 off 89 with five fours. TAC lost some quick wickets after the departure of Mahesh including that of Rajesh but Indra Kamal Manandhar (eight not out) and Jitendra (six not out) held firm to hand TAC the victory. Rajesh made 31 off 48 with a six.
Siddhant Lohani didn’t have great time with the bat but peaked with the ball taking 4-27 from eight overs. Lalit Rajbanshi picked up two wickets with veteran Lakpa Lama also having one scalp.