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Saurav continues to impress in Western victory

Saurav Khanal continued his fine form with a second consecutive half century as Western Region earned first victory in the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament on Wednesday.

Following up with his quickfire 49-ball 90 not out against Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club in the first match in a losing cause, Saurav made sure that his side return with a 95-run victory over a comparatively strong looking Central Region smashing a 58-ball 78 not out.

Saurav’s innings lifted Western to 202-8 in 50 overs as bowlers did the rest by bundling out Central for just 107 runs in 40.3 overs. The win vaulted Western back to contention and need to beat Mid Western in their last Group ‘A’ game on Thursday.

Central, meanwhile, are in danger of an early exit having shared points against Mid West in Tuesday’s washed out game. Central now must wait for the result of Western’s next match and APF’s game against Mid West on Friday before making any plan against the departmental team on Saturday.

After losing opener Nurdhoj Sen (three) with just nine runs on board, Anil Gurung and Bidhan Shrestha (18) consolidated the Western innings with a 43-run partnership for the second wicket. Gurung made 28 off 68 with three fours and a six and his dismissal sparked a brief collapse as they were reduced to 87-5 in 31.3 overs.

Saurav stepped in and together with captain Antim Thapa forged a 52-run stand for the sixth wicket. Antim scored 34 from 71 balls with two fours. After Antim’s departure, Saurav and Krishna Karki got involved in a brisk partnership of 52 runs as Western paced their innings at the closing stages.

Krishna hit 15 off 14 balls with a six and a four, while Saurav slammed six towering sixes and three boundaries in his unbeaten knock. Kishor Mahato (3-42) and Nandan Yadav (2-21) shared five wickets between them for Central.

Central didn’t have best of the start and they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Lal Bahadur Adhikari did much of the damage taking crucial wickets of Sharad (seven), Sumit Maharjan (10) and Ishan Pandey as Central were reduced to 62-8 in no time.

Ishan top scored for them with a 48-ball 24 with a six and a four, while Kishor (20) just offered a brief resistance to make Western wait longer for victory. Rohit Kumar Poudel also picked up three wickets for Western.

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