Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) defended a low total in their slim 23-run victory over Region No 6 (Baitadi) in the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament match at the Sainik Awasiya Mahavidhyayala grounds in Bhaktapur on Tuesday.
Nepalgunj failed to capitalise on a 72-run second wicket stand between Ravindra Shahi and Raj Bir Singh before the whole team was dismissed for just 149 in 42.4 overs. Baitadi too had a disastrous start but despite a middle order resistance they were packed up for just 126 in 41 overs.
Dilip Nath (29 off 45) was the lone scorer from Baitadi top order that collapsed to 59-5 in 21 overs after Abhinash Bohora picked up three wickets. Yogendra Karki and Prem Tamang (16) pulled out the team from the crater sharing 46-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Baitadi did lose Prem and Arun Airee (four) to Raj Bir but with Yogendra batting with composure and the team just 24 runs away from the target, they were still on the game. But Ajay Shahani stunned Baitadi when he polished off the tail picking up three wickets in just four balls to ignite a wild celebration in the Nepalgunj camp.
Yogendra was first to go, bowled by Ajay for a match-high 44 off 60 that included three boundaries. Man-of-the-match Ajaya ended up with the figures of 4-27 from nine overs.
Earlier, Nepalgunj lost opener Sushant Thapa for a duck but Ravindra and Raj Bir consolidated the innings. Ravindra made 39 off 74 with two fours and a six, while Raj Bir’s patient 41 off 79 included five hits to the fence.
The recovery, however, mattered a little to Baitadi as they kept striking in regular intervals squeezing Nepalgunj out below 150 with Pranit Thapa (19) and Ajay (19) giving them some lift. Kamal Airee, Yogendra, Prem and Arun picked up two wickets each for Baitadi.