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Janakpur in driving seat, ton for Sunil

Region No 7 (Janakpur) took a huge stride towards the semi-finals of the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament, while Sunil Damala smashed a century in Region No 9 (Mahendranagar) 122-run humbling of Region No 8 (Pokhara) on Sunday.


Hari Shankar Sah scripted Janakpur’s 58-run victory over Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds. Janakpur lead Group ‘B’ with six points from three matches. Mahendranagar are in Janakpur’s trail with four points from two matches.


Janakpur made 206 all out in 44.5 overs and Hari Shankar put them in a driving seat with the figures of 6-24 from nine overs that folded Nepalgunj innings for 148 all out in 34.3. After losing Wasim Halwai for a duck in the second over, opener Prajjwal Shahi and Bhupendra Thapa (18) consolidated Nepalgunj innings with a 62-run stand.


Abhishek Jha dismissed both set batsmen in a space of eight runs and after that man-of-the-match Hari Shankar wreaked havoc. Prajjwal top scored for Nepalgunj with 35 off 47 with six boundaries, while Rabindra Shahi (17) and Shishir Thapa (10) scored in double figures.


Earlier, opener Hari Shankar (15) and Chandan Jha gave Janakpur a modest start with a 23-run stand. Chandan then added another 49 runs with Ansaj Upadhyaya before Anup Neupane took two-in-two reducing Janakpur to 73-3. Ansaj made 26 off 24 with three fours and a six.


Chandan combined for another 57-run stand with Rahul Pratap Singh and lost their wickets to Aakash Bista. Rahul was first to go for 38 off 41 that included six boundaries and six, while Chandan departed after making 37 from 66 with five boundaries.


Abhishek Singh (26) and Abhishek Jha (21) partnered for 33 runs before both fell to Bhupendra Roka.  Akash – who returned with 5-23 from 8.5 overs – then polished off the tail picking up three wickets.


At the TU grounds, a brilliant 141-ball 128 from opener Sunil Damala lifted Mahendranagar to 281-4 before he returned to take two crucial wickets that bundled out Pokhara for just 159 in 42.4 overs.


Sunil was the aggressor as Mahendranagar got off to a brilliant start when he added 50 runs for the first wicket with Roman Bam (seven). Dipendra Chand (two) departed early but Sunil gave Pokhara a day to forget with a 113-run partnership for the third wicket with Bhim Sarki. Bhim made 38 off 55 with five boundaries and watches Sunil complete his half century in 69 balls. After completing his century from 120 balls, Sunil lost his wicket to Nischal Pandey.


Pokhara might have thought they can now breathe a sigh of relief with Sunil’s dismissal but skipper Bhuwan Karki and Raju Rijal began from where the opener had left. Bhuwan smashed 52 off 33 with eight boundaries and Sunil made 32 off 22 in their unbeaten 85-run partnership.


After losing opener Santosh Bhattarai (naught) in the second ball, Anil Gurung and Manoj Koirala (12) tried to steady the ship with 44-run stand until Bhuwan trapped the latter leg before. Anil paired with Aakash Thapa for a 57-run stand and after both fell to Sunil, it took no time for Pokhara to surrender.


Anil made 59 off 98 and Aakash scored 34 off 46 with five boundaries and a six. Dipendra Airee took three lower order wickets, while Bhim also had two scalps for Mahendranagar.

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