Saurav Khanal once again came to the rescue as Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) eked out a one-wicket victory over Region No 3 (Kathmandu) to sail into the semi-finals of the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament on Monday.
Bhairhawa followed Group ‘A’ winners Region No 8 (Pokhara) in the last four and they will meet Group ‘A’ winners Region No 6 (Baitadi) for a place in the semi-final on Wednesday.
Kathmandu made 115-6 in the match reduced to 22 overs due to poor ground conditions. Adil Khan’s knock was crucial in Kathmandu’s decent total. Bhairahawa recovered from 42-6 to reach 116-9 in the last ball of the innings that was built by man-of-the-match Saurav.
Saurav shared a 65-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Bishal Sunar to have the job done. Bhairahawa did lose both set batsmen in a space of six runs but the tail-enders hanged on for victory.
Saurav hit three sixes and three fours in his 38-ball 43, while Bishal made 21 off 18 with two boundaries. Abhiraj Yadav was the pick of the Kathmandu bowlers with the figures of 4-20 and Jitendra Singh took 2-14. Nandan Yadav and Sumit Maharjan share one each.
Kathmandu went through similar conditions when they lost six wickets for just 65 runs but Adil and Arjun Adhikari lifted the total with an unbeaten 50-run stand. Adil made a run-a-ball 46 with three boundaries and Arjun was 23 not out off 24 with two hits to the fence.
Bishal Adhikari (10) was the only remaining Kathmandu batsman to make runs in double figures. Shaheb Alam and Bishal Sunar picked up two wickets each for Bhairahawa, while Saurav and Rahul Bhattarai had one victims each.