Sandeep Sunar played an enterprising innings leading Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club into the semi-finals of the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament on Friday.
For their second consecutive victory in Group ‘A’, APF brushed aside Mid Western Region by five wickets to reach the last four following Western Region. APF and Western, who have played all their three matches, have four points each but the latter lead the table on net run rate.
APF’s match against Central Region on Saturday will determine the group winners and runners-up. Central and Mid West finished with one point each after their match was washed out. Tribhuvan Army Club and Nepal Police Club are the Group ‘B’ winners and runners-up respectively.
In the match on Friday, Mid West signed off by putting some runs on the board making 181-8 in 50 overs on a back of a half century from Anupam Singh. But Sandeep’s innings made the difference as his 83-ball 87 saw APF reach 184-5 in just 28.2 overs.
APF lost opener Subash Khakurel (12) early in the game but Sandeep set the foundation for victory with a 92-run partnership for the second wicket with Aasif Sheikh. Aasif made 40 from 44 balls with three fours and a six.
Sandeep made the game safe by adding another 32 runs for the third wicket with Anil Sah (nine) before being dismissed in the 26th over. He hit seven fours and five sixes. Prithu Baskota (15) and Pradeep Airee (five) completed the chase.
Amar Singh Routela and Bijay Chaudhary picked up two wickets each for Mid West.
Earlier, Rajbir Singh and skipper Shubhendu Pandey tried to consolidate the Mid West innings with a 49-run partnership for the third wicket but they were still struggling to put on a modest total at 105-7 in 36 overs.
Anupam then shared a 68-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Siddhant Raj Shahi as Mid West closed in on 200-run mark. Anupam scored 56 from 95 balls with six hits to the fence. Siddhant made 35 off 42 with two sixes and as many boundaries.
Rajbir was the second best scorer for Mid West notching up 37 from 76 balls with three boundaries and Subhendu scored 23 from 32 with a six and a four. Bhuwan Karki took 3-25 and Avinash Bohora had the figures of 2-29 from their 10-over spells each.