A five-wicket haul from Ramnaresh Giri and two crucial partnerships helped Region No 2 (Birgunj) defeat Region No 6 (Baitadi) by 34 runs for a triumphant start in the Pepsi Standard Chartered One Day National Cricket Tournament at the Rangashala grounds in Pokhara on Wednesday.
Birgunj were heading towards a seemingly collapse when they lost their experienced top order batsmen Amit Shrestha, Haseem Ansari and Aarif Sheikh for just 17 runs.
But Suraj Kurmi rescued the side with two crucial partnerships lifting Birgunj to 233 all out in 45.1 overs. Ramnaresh then ran riot over Baitadi batting bundling them out for 199 runs in 48.4 overs.
Baitadi had an identical start losing their first three batsmen with just 38 runs on board but Prem Tamang raised few hopes partnering with Dilip Nath for a 68-run stand.
However, once Dilip lost his wicket to Aarif, Baitadi collapse resumed before they were finally dismissed with eight balls to spare. When Prem lost his wicket to Ramnaresh as the sixth Baitadi wicket, defeat was already on after they were reduced to 154-6.
Dilip and Prem made 38 runs each with the former hitting two sixes and a four in 55 balls. Prem struck two boundaries in 76 balls. Basant Khatri made a run-a-ball 21 late in the batting order but was not enough to avert the team’s loss.
Man-of-the-match Ramnaresh finished with the figures of 5-34 from 9.4 overs, while Aarif Sheikh had 2-34 from his 10. Earlier, Suraj rescued Birgunj with a 119-run stand for the fourth wicket with Sumit Shrestha who top scored in the match with 69 off 76 that included nine fours and a six.
After Sumit’s dismissal, Suraj shared another 55 runs with Shiva Tandukar that set Birgunj to a challenging total. Suraj made 57 off 100 with six boundaries and Shiva scored 30 off 37 with four fours and a six. Kumar Thapa also chipped in 19 not out from 16 balls. Mahendra Chand, Santosh Bhatt and Basant picked up two wickets each for Birgunj.