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Kathmandu make merry, APF rescued

Region No 3 (Kathmandu) moved into a pole position to reach the semi-finals after their third consecutive victory, while Nepal APF Club were hit hard by Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) after the defending champions crashed to 92 all out but rain saved their blushes on Saturday.


Kathmandu defeated Region No 6 (Baitadi) by eight wickets at the Pulchowk Engineering College grounds and stay at the top of four-team Group ‘A’ with six points. In other matches, Region No 2 (Birgunj) eked out a two-run victory over Region No 8 (Pokhara) and Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) filed their first victory defeating Region No 9 Mahendranagar by five wickets.


Kathmandu restricted Baitadi to 95-9 and their batsmen made the chase look easy reaching 99-2 in 13.4 overs. After a quick fire 22 off 10 from Niraj Bhattarai, Bivatsu Thapa eased the chase with a gritty 39 from 24 balls. Bivatsu hit six boundaries and a six and shared 46 unbeaten partnership for the third wicket with Pawan Shrestha (19).


Man-of-the-match Niraj and Som Pal Thapa took two wickets each for Kathmandu. Roshan Nepali (18), Prashant Bist (15), Prem Tamang (15) and Mahendra Chand (14) were the only notable contributors for Baitadi.


Nepalgunj stunned APF bundling them out for 92 in 19.4 overs after Amar Singh Rautela and Akash Bista took four wickets apiece. But there was no relief for Nepalgunj still after consistent rain forced the abandonment of the match.


Skipper Paras Khadka made 22 off 15 with three boundaries and a six, while Pradeep Airee made 18 off 30 for APF who are tied on five points with Nepalgunj in Group ‘B’ but still lead the standings on better run rate.


Mahendranagar once again failed to play freely in their second match in national cricket before getting restricted for 107-6. Fazlur Rehman Khan then smashed a 36-ball 50 taking Bhairahawa to 108-5 in 16.4 overs. Man-of-the-match Fazlur hit three sixes and four boundaries.


Binod Lama took two wickets for Mahendranagar. Surendra Chand made 26 off 43 for Mahendranagar. Sushan Bhari and Rupesh Bastola took two wickets each.


Birgunj got a solid start against Pokhara with openers Hashim Ansari and Amit Shrestha adding 122 runs and ultimately taking the team to 152-5. Pokhara were at dire straits at 37-5 after 7.3 overs but Amrit Shrestha and Dipesh Khatri brought them back in the match with unbroken century stand but still were in a losing side.


Amrit made 69 off 55 with nine boundaries and a six, while Dipesh clobbered six fours in his 28-ball 40 in their 113-run stand. Irshad Ahmed and Jitendra Mukhiya took two wickets each for Birgunj.


Earlier, Hashim made 63 off 48 smacking seven boundaries and Amit scored 51 from 48 with five fours. It was Amit’s second half century in the tournament. Krishna Bastola took two wickets for Pokhara.


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