Santosh Upadhyaya produced a fiery bowling spell picking up five wickets helping Region No 8 (Pokhara) reach their first ever final of any national tournament as the second youngest regional team made it to the final of Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament on Tuesday.
Pokhara defeated Region No 1 (Biratnagar) by 28 runs in the first semi-final match held at the Tribhuvan University Stadium grounds. A collective effort from the top and lower middle order lifted Pokhara to 173 all out in 47 overs. Rest of the story was written by Santosh who provided the momentum in bundling out Biratnagar for 145 in 44.4 overs.
Santosh struck early in Biratnagar innings dismissing Niraj Mukhiya (three) followed by the duck dismissals of Ankit Subedi and Avinash Karn reducing the opponents to 11-3 in 2.4 overs.
Another opener Lokesh Jha and Rimesh Regmi tried to build the innings with a 41-run stand before Bipin Khatri struck. Bipin removed Lokesh for 19 off 55 with two fours and his dismissal sparked another collapse.
Biratnagar were 100-7 after Sushil Kandel got rid of Firdosh Ansari (six) and Rimesh Regmi with Rajesh Lamsal removing Minas Thapa (two). Rimesh made 46 off 94 with three fours and a six. Mukunda Yadav and Kalicharan Yadav tried to avoid the defeat but once Bipin got rid of the former, the challenge ended for Biratnagar.
Mukunda made 28 off 37 with two boundaries and Kalicharan scored 16 off 21 before losing his wicket to Santosh. Man-of-the-match Santosh finished with the figures of 5-38 from 9.4 overs.
Earlier, no Pokhara batsmen managed to forge a big partnership but still they managed to pile a total that ultimately proved to be a mammoth for Biratnagar. Sushil – who shared 40 runs for the sixth wicket with Santosh (19) and 38 for the seventh with Sudip Poudel (20) – top scored with 29 runs for Pokhara.
Aakash Thapa was their next best scorer with 22 off 23 that included two sixes and a four. Firdosh Ansari picked up 3-27 for Biratnagar with Heman Rai and Minash Thapa sharing four wickets between them.
First semi-final summary
Pokhara: 173 all out in 47 overs (Sushil Kandel – 29 off 52, Aakash Thapa – 22 off 23)
(Firdosh Ansari – 3-27 from 7, Heman Rai 2-21 from 10)
Biratnagar: 145 all out in 44.4 overs (Rimesh Regmi – 46 off 94, Mukunda Yadav – 28 off 37)
(Santosh Upadhyaya – 5-38 from 9.4, Sushil Kandel 2-25 from 10)