Nepal Police Club (NPC) served a deja vu to departmental rivals Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) defeating them once again in the final of the Ruslan Cup Twenty20 cricket tournament .
At the same stage of the same tournament, NPC had stunned the Army-men last year after Siddhant Lohani blitzed with 20-ball 47 when they were reeling at 73-7 in chase of 133 runs.
TAC compiled a challenging total of 142-6 in 20 overs after they were invited to take the strike first. NPC were reduced to 72-5 at one stage but this time they didn’t need Siddhant. Ahead of TAC were the future of Nepali cricket in Dipendra Airee and Kushal Bhurtel who displayed both sensibility and aggression leading NPC to 148-6 in 19 overs.
After openers Dilip Nath and Sunil Dhamala (eight) gave a quick start adding 32 runs in the first overs, NPC suffered a collapse losing both men to Bikram Sob in a single over and Aarif Sheikh for a duck in the next. Dilip had hit four boundaries in his 18-ball 24.
NPC soon lost Manjeet Shrestha (15) and Yogendra Karki (11) before TAC were left sweating. The duo added an important 58 runs for the sixth wicket and it was Kushal who tore apart TAC’s strong pace attack hitting three sixes in his 20-ball 34.
Kushal lost his wicket in the 18th over before Siddhant (nine) sealed the game with a six off Avinash Karn in the last ball of the 19th. Man-of-the-match Dipendra remained unbeaten on 42 off 35 with four boundaries and a six and shared his trophy with Kushal.
Earlier, Naresh Budhayer was the top scorer from TAC’s top order making 28 off 25 with four fours and a six but the Army-men were reduced to 57-4 in no time. Skipper Binod Bhandari came to the rescue with a 55-run partnership with Rajesh Pulami Magar as TAC build on to a challenging total.
Bhandari top scored with a 30-ball 40 hitting three boundaries and two sixes, while Rajesh made 38 off 21 with four fours and a six. Lalit Bhandari and Lalit Rajbanshi took two wickets each for NPC.