In a battle between the teams led by country’s frontline spinners, Shakti Gauchan weighed in heavier when his Jagdamba Giants eked out a 13-run victory over Basanta Regmi’s Kantipur Gurkhas, a win that took Giants in the semi-finals.
At the Fapla grounds in Dhangadhi, Giants overcame the early wobble at 45-5 to make 201 all out in 49 overs. Pradeep Airee defied the Giants until the 33rd over but a balanced seam attack saw Gurkhas finish at 188 all out in 49.
Giants’ recovery with the bat was the major highlight in Fapla when two quick wickets from Gopal Singh and Basanta Regmi and one from Pradeep saw their half of the team return back with not even 50 runs on the board.
Often-aggressive Amit Shrestha, however, had some other ideas as he switched to a slow gear in the team’s rescue adding 100 runs with Shubendhu Pandey. Both batsmen made half century displaying calm and patience until Amit lost his wicket for 60 off 100 balls. Amit hit nine fours and a six, while Shubendhu was next to go for 53 off 73 but the job seemed to be already done. Shubendhu’s innings included five fours and a six.
Skipper Shakti pushed the team towards 200 making 25 not out from 59 balls with three boundaries. Basanta took 4-40 and Gopal returned with 3-40, while Pradeep took 2-25.
Gurkhas’ start chase was propelled by Pradeep and at one moment it looked like they were going to overhaul the target with ease. Pradeep and Subash Khakurel (15) began with a 44-run stand until Som Pal Kami struck twice in his successive overs removing the latter and new man Surendra Chand (duck).
Pradeep partnered with Basanta for another 73-run but their partnership was the end of Gurkhas innings as a whole after Nizamuddin Ansari joined the attack to rip the heart out of their middle and lower order.
Beginning with the scalp of Pradeep and Basanta in the single over, Nizamudding kept on striking as Gurkhas lost their last eight wickets for just 57 runs. Pradeep made 78 off 94 with eight fours and four sixes, while Basanta scored 23 off 58 with one each four and six.
In an all-seamer show for Giants, man-of-the-match Nizamuddin took 5-33 from 10 overs with two maidens and Som Pal returned with 4-56 from 10. Shakti bowled a tight 10-over spell conceding just 14 runs.