Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) crashed to a shocking four-wicket defeat to Region No 9 (Dhangadhi) to languish their top spot in the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds on Friday.
Nepalgunj, who were at the top of Group ‘B’ needed a win to cement their top spot in the pool, but instead against a team that suffered two defeats in a row, all was lost when they were bundled out for 87 in 25.5 overs. Sunil Dhamala led a perfect reply playing some delightful strokes as Dhangadhi reached 88-6 in 14.4 overs.
Dhangadhi’s victory lifted Region No 6 (Baitadi) at the top of Group ‘B’ on run rate after they were tied on four points with Region No 1 (Biratnagar) – 10-run winners over Region No 2 (Birgunj) in the other match of the day – and Nepalgunj.
Dhangadhi lost opener Rabi Chand (two) early in their reply but Sunil – who opened the innings for Nepal in the ACC U-19 Asian Cup held in December at the UAE – smashed seven crispy boundaries to put the team on front foot.
Sunil’s whirlwind knock of 25-ball 36 ended after he handed a catch to Aakash Bista off Bhupendra Roka. Bhim Sarki (13) and Raju Rijal took the team close to victory but Dhangadhi suffered a mini-collapse losing four more wickets but Raju’s 17 off 16 with three boundaries was already enough. Aakash picked up 4-11 from five overs and Bhupendra took 2-18 from 3.4.
Earlier, Pranit Thapa and Sandesh Khanal (15) lifted Nepalgunj from 7-3 sharing 34 runs for the fourth wicket and that was the only notable moment for Nepalgunj. Pranit was the eighth man out after making 33 off 46 with four boundaries and a six.
Man-of-the-match Arjun Chapagain dealt a hammer blow for Nepalgunj picking up four middle order wickets. Bhuwan KC also took 3-17, while Sunil, Dipendra Airee and Naresh Bohora picked up one each.