Leg spinner Sonu Devkota produced his best bowling figures in domestic cricket tearing apart Nepal APF Club to hand Bagmati Province their first victory in the Mayor’s Cup on Tuesday.
Put in to bat first, Nandan Yadav was the unlikely savior with the bat for Bagmati scoring a gritty half century to help Bagmati reach a challenging 233-6 in 50 overs. Sonu ripped through the top and middle order taking 6-41 from 10 overs as APF were shut down for 206 all out in 44.6 overs.
The APF defeat left the tournament wide open for all five teams. The top two teams after a round robin league will directly play the final. Nepal Police Club currently lead the table on net run rate after they were tied on four points with APF.
Kathmandu Mayor’s XI, Tribhuvan Army Club and Bagmati follow them with two points each. APF play their last match against Mayor XI and Army will be up against Bagmati. If APF and NPC both lose their last match, only run rate will determine the teams to reach the final.
Mayor XI, however, can make it through on points if they win their next two.
On Tuesday, with Subash Khakurel sitting out, skipper Sharad Vesawkar took the responsibility to open the innings but fell to Ramnaresh Giri for just for runs. Aasif Sheikh produced a splendid innings easing APF chase only to see their march halted by Sonu.
Soon after completing his half century, Aasif tried to drag Sonu around his legs and found a thick edge at slips to Paras Khadka. APF made runs in clusters after Aasif’s departure but Sonu continued to pick wickets. They were reduced to 182-8 by the 37th over.
Aasif shared 72 runs for the second wicket with Shankar Rana who scored 29 off 58 with three fours. Sundeep Jora made 25 from 23 balls. Amar Singh Routela kept APF in the game but fell to Ariyo Poudel while trying to up the ante. He scored 27 off 53 with a six and a four.
Ramnaresh Giri and Ariyo also took two wickets each for APF.
Nandan had bailed out Bagmati from 139-5 to what ultimately was a winning total for them. Promoted up the order, he shared 73 runs for the sixth wicket with Aadil Khan in an entertaining partnership.
Nandan’s 56-ball innings included seven boundaries and a six, while Aadil contributed 34 from 44 while falling in the 47th over to Kishor Mahato after hitting four boundaries.
Bagmati had a sluggish start and lost opener Aakash Thapa (one) to Abinash Bohora with just 10 runs on the board by the seventh over. Skipper Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka then shared 49 runs for the second wicket before the former Nepal captain fell to veteran spinner Basanta Regmi.
Paras’ 37-ball 29 included two boundaries and a six. Gyanendra added another 48 with Ishan Pandey and completed a fighting half century. He fell to Amar Singh Routela for a 84-ball 57. He hit seven boundaries.
Amar also removed in-form Prithu Baskota (five) cheaply and Kishore Mahato got rid of Ishan in the 35th over to leave Bagmati reeling. Ishan struck three boundaries in his 42-ball 31.