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Rupesh comes to rescue as Kathmandu, Birgunj win


Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) almost shut the doors of progress for Region No 8 (Pokhara) in the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament, while Region No 3 (Kathmandu) and Region No 2 (Birgunj) won their respective Group ‘B’ openers on Monday.
No 8 Rupesh Bastola was key to Bhairahawa in the 118-run comprehensive victory. Rupesh rescued Bhairahawa from a terrible batting collapse taking the team to 189 all out in 47.1 overs with an unbeaten half century and returned to pick up three wickets that bundled out Pokhara for 71 in 34 overs. 
The first win in their second match puts Bhairhawa at the third spot in Group ‘B’ and Pokhara are heading towards the exit doors following their third loss in a row. Region No 7 (Janakpur) lead the pool with six points and Region No 9 (Mahendranagar) are up next on four.
Bhairahawa were reeling at 74-7 after 28.3 overs until Rupesh stepped in and involved in a 73-run stand with Sushan Bhari. Rupesh made 52 off 48 in an innings studded with 10 boundaries and a six. Sushan made 40 from 79 with four fours and a six. 
Dipendra Yadav chipped in 21 not out from 13 balls with two sixes and two fours. Nischal Pandey took 3-30 from 10 overs for Pokhara, while Sangharsha Poudyal and Shyam Tripathi took two each.
Pokhara were 40-1 at one stage but once Nischal was dismissed, Pokhara lost their way. Nischal made 26 off 44 with five boundaries. Along with Rupesh, Dipendra also took three wickets for Bhairahawa. 
Kathmandu, meanwhile, rode on a solid 58 not out from skipper Bibhatsu Thapa to defeat defending champions Region No 1 (Biratnagar) by seven wickets. Prakash Bista ‘B’ took five wickets as Kathmandu restricted Biratnagar to 158 all out in 45.3 overs. 
Kathmandu were in dire straits at 64-6 but Bibhatsu played a captain’s innings taking the team to to 162-7 in 30.4 overs. Bibhatsu shared a match-winning 80 run partnership with Sharad Khadka (15). Bibhatsu clobbered eight fours and a six. Purushottam Jha was 10 not out. Siddhant Lohani and Heman Rai took two wickets each for Biratnagar. 
Earlier, Somesh Yadav and Mukunda Yadav consolidate Biratnagar innings with a 78-run partnership for the third wicket but after both batsmen headed back to the pavilion, there was no stopping for Prakash.
Mukunda made 34 off 52 with five boundaries hitting five fours before falling prey to Adil Khan. Prakash then removed Somesh and the bowler regularly struck to halt Biratnagar progress. 
Somesh top scored for Biratangar with an 89-ball 40 with four boundaries, while Rohit Singh made 22. Apart from Prakash, Navin Kumar Yadav also took two wickets for Kathmandu.
At the TU grounds, Ram Naresh Giri picked up four wickets and was ably supported by Suraj Prasad Kurmi (2-9) and Aarif Sheikh (2-11) to squeeze Region No 6 (Baitadi) for 139 in 45.5 overs. After the top four batsmen contributed, Birgunj reached 141-2 in 31.2 overs for an eight-wicket victory.
Amit Shrestha top scored for Birgunj with a 49-ball 40 that included six boundaries. Amit shared 37 runs for the first wicket with Anil Kumar Shah (17) and 50 runs with Suraj Prasad Kurmi. Suraj – who eased the chase with an unbeaten 54-run partnership with Aarif Sheikh – made 35 off 79 with five boundaries. 
Aarif made 28 off 34 with five boundaries and was declared the man-of-the-match. Yogendra Karki led a lonely battle for Baitadi making 52 from 111 balls with two boundaries.


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