Nepal Police Club made up for their semi-final exit from the Prime Minister Cup as the departmental giants reached the final of the Mayor Cup following a convincing 94-run victory over Kathmandu Mayor’s XI on Wednesday.
Needing a victory in their last league game, Police threw away a solid start from their openers to get skittle out for just 197 in 47.2 overs. Their bowlers, however, forged a way back bundling out Mayor’s XI for just 94 runs in 31.2 overs.
Mayor’s XI are still in the hunt for the final along with three other teams in the five-team tournament, albeit on net run rate. They would need to defeat Nepal APF Club by a handsome margin at the Mulpani Cricket Ground and wait for the result between PM Cup champions Tribhuvan Army Club and Bagmati Province at the TU grounds.
Both Army and Bagmati need a big victory to make sure they stay in hunt. However, an ordinary victory for APF at Mulpani would mean an end for all other teams irrespective of how they win.
NPC, who had lost to APF in their tournament opener, bounced back to win their next three games. At the TU grounds on Wednesday, it was Dipendra Singh Airee who set the tone for victory with the ball.
Dipendra picked up three wickets as Mayor’s XI lost half of their men with just 33 runs on the board. In-form Sandeep Rajali (one) and Saurav Khanal (five) were among those losing their wickets cheaply.
Skipper Sandeep Lamichhane and Krishna Karki put a brief fight to share 35 runs for the sixth wicket before their innings spiraled down again with the departure of the latter. Sandeep top scored for his side with a 17-ball 26 with three fours and two sixes, while Krishna made 19 and Siddhant contributed 18 for them.
Rest of the batsmen failed to reach double figures. Man-of-the-match Pawan Sarraf took 4-16 from 6.2 overs and Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi also had two scalps for NPC.
Earlier, Sandeep, Hari Shankar Sah and Bipin Khatri had cancelled out a decent start from Kushal Bhurtel and Sunil Dhamala to forge a Mayor’s XI comeback.
The NPC opening pair began with a 56 run partnership before both batsmen fell to Bipin in his consecutive overs in a space of three runs. Kushal made 34 off 29, his innings studded with three sixes and three boundaries. Sunil chipped in a 24-ball 22.
Yogendra Singh Karki scored from the middle order making 40 from 55 balls hitting three boundaries and Dipendra made 38 from 24. Pawan also contributed with the bat scoring a 51-ball 28.