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Nepalgunj defend yet another low total

The love-affair with defense of a low total continued for the second day for Region No 5 (Nepalgunj) when they defeated Region No 2 (Birgunj) by 24 runs in the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament at the Sainik Awaisya Mahavidhyalaya grounds in Bhaktapur on Wednesday.

 

Nepalgunj had defended a total of 149 runs against Region No 6 (Baitadi) at the same venue in their tournament opener and they did it again when despite making a shaky 145 all out in 43.5 overs, they folded Birgunj for just 121 in 31.2 overs.

 

The win put Nepalgunj at the top of Group ‘B’ with four points. Baitadi and Region No 1 (Biratnagar) chase Nepalgunj on two points each with the latter playing one game less.

 

Aaksh Bista and man-of-the-match Abhinash Bohora picked up eight wickets between them as Birgunj collapsed to a low total despite getting close with two crucial partnerships. From 18-2, Ravi Kumar Sah and Bikram Kumar Basnet shared 52 runs to suggest it was going to be a casual walk in the park for Birgunj.

 

Sah made 29 off 44 with five boundaries before losing his wicket to Raj Bir Singh. Bikram kept Birgunj in the game with another 31-run stand with Irsad Ahmed (15). Birgunj were 45 runs sigh of target with seven wickets in hand and 164 balls to spare.

 

But a single delivery from Aakash turned the match on its head when he bowled Bikram for 29 and Birgunj lost their last seven wickets for just 20 runs. After the breakthrough Abhinash picked up four wickets to end the Birgunj fight. Bikram hit four boundaries in 48 deliveries.

 

Nepalgunj innings looked similar when opener Ravindra Shahi and Raj Bir Singh revived their innings from 19-1 with a 53-run stand for the second wicket. Ravindra made 26 off 50 with two fours and a six before losing his wicket to Irsad and Raj Bir made 41 off 97 with four boundaries.

 

After the two set batsmen Nepalgunj crawled to reach 150-run mark but they failed. Akash (14) played an all-important innings that ultimately proved to be the winner for Nepalgunj. Jitendra Yadav and Pawan Sharraf picked up three wickets each for Birgunj, while Rijan Dhakal and Irshad had two scalps apiece.

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