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MCA batting comeback stuns Pokhara, NCS in final

A batting comeback helped Makawanpur Cricket Academy (MCA) enter the final of the Sponsor U-16 Academy Cup and set the title clash with Nepal Cricket School (NCS) United in Pokhara on Friday.

In the semi-final matches at the Machhapuchhre cricket grounds, Makawanpur hammered Pokhara Cricket Academy by 77 runs after staging a remarkable comeback with the bat. NCS, meanwhile, coasted to an eight-wicket victory over Kasthmandap Cricket Academy.

MCA comeback was the toast of the day as they were reduced to 50-7 at one stage after Mekh Bahadur Sen picked up three wickets and two wickets each from Navin Karki and Buddhiman Tamang.

But No 10 batsman Bishal Mandal struck a half century and together with No 8 Himal Pun stitched a match-winning 94-run partnership for the eighth wicket guiding the team to 153-9 from 20 overs.

Man-of-the-match Bishal scored 52 off 37 with four boundaries and three sixes, while Himal chipped in 39 from 48 with two fours and a six. Shubh Kansakar made 18 from five balls with three fours and a six from the top order and Bipul Khanal (11) also made runs in double figures.

Bedazzled by the late order revival, Pokhara kept losing wickets at regular intervals before their innings was shut down for just 76 runs in 18.1 overs. Sakar Gajurel was the chief tormentor as he picked up 4-19 from four overs. NCS replied with 55-2 from just 6.2 overs.

Muskan Thapa (13), Navin (12) and Sagar Koirala (10 not out) were the only Pokhara batsmen to reach double figures. Raju Yadav, Himal, Sarans Gautam, Suraj Timalsina and Shubh also picked up a wicket each for MCA.

In the second semi-final that was reduced to 18 overs, Kasthmandap could only manage 54-8 after NCS bowlers tied them up. Kasthmandap only had their opener Ronak Goyal (11) crossing double digits as their total crossed 50 runs with 20 extras bowled by NCS.

Uthan Lama (eight not out) and Ragim Maharjan (seven) were next best scorers for the losing side. Man-of-the-match Rijan Thapa took two wickets for NCS, while Pratish GC, Bigyan Gautam, Nitesh Yadav and Shashank Agrawal also had one victim each.

Boasting a strong batting line up, NCS had all their first three batsmen scoring as Bishal Bhandari scored 18 not out off 19 with three fours. Sachin Sharma (15) and Rit Gautam (16) also scored in double figures.

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