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Province 1 end APF domination with Prime Minister Cup title

Province 1 ended a long domination of Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club in women’s cricket to claim the Prime Minister Cup Twenty20 National in Lamahi, Dang on Sunday.

In a see-saw final at the Deukhuri Stadium where sizeable spectators thronged to witness the thriller, national team captain Rubina Chhetri-led Province 1 overcame APF by six runs as the departmental side lost their first final in domestic cricket in four years.

The last APF lost a final in domestic cricket was amidst controversy as they had walked out of the final against Eastern Region (now Province 1) during the seventh National Games gold medal match in Itahari on December 27, 2016.

With almost the same side taking on APF on Sunday, the victory was a long-pending revenge for Province 1 having watched their opponents four yeas ago boycott the final when they needed just five runs from the last eight balls with two wickets in hand.

The final seemed perfectly orchestrated as Province 1 shuffled their opening pair and a strong start from Apsari Begam and Rubina spurred them to a challenging 105-4. The match seemed well out of APF grasp after they were reduced to 32-5 but a solid comeback from Mamta Chaudhary and Karuna Bhandari brough them back in the game.

Province 1, however, kept piling pressure on APF and restricted them to 99-7. APF needed 17 runs from the last 12 deliveries but Sabnam Rai and Sangita Rai conceded just four and six in the 19th and 20th overs. While Mamta was run out in the second ball of the last over, skipper Sita Rana Magar was stumped by Kajol Shrestha off Sangita Rai in the fifth.

Mamta and Karuna had kept APF in the game with a 64-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Mamta made 34 off 47 and Karuna was unbeaten on 26 off 36. Opener Jyoti Pandey (14) was their next best scorer. Rubina and Alisha Khadiya took two wickets each for Province 1.

Earlier, Apari and Rubina began with a 58-run first wicket partnership before Sita had both of them dismissed in the 13th over. Kajal Shrestha, however, made sure Province 1 cross triple figures with a gritty 26-ball 29 that included three hits to the fence.

Apsari top scored with a 45-ball 34 hitting five boundaries and player-of-the-final Rubina chipped in a 32-ball 18. Sita took 3-17 from four overs for APF.

Prime Minister Cup Winners

Champions: Eastern Region (Rs 500,000)
Runners-up: Nepal APF Club (Rs 300,000)
Semi-finalists: Lumbini Province (Rs 25,000)
Semi-finalists: Sudur Paschim (Rs 25,000)
Player-of-the-Series: Sangita Rai (Rs 21,000)
Best Batswoman: Jyoti Pandey (Rs 10,000)
Best Bowler: Karuna Bhandari (Rs 10,000)

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