Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) robbed Dipendra Singh Airee of his moment of glory upstaging the Nepal Police Club batsman’s maiden career century with another sensational victory in the Mayor Cup on Monday.
A day after picking up four wickets in NPC’s two-run victory over Bagmati Province at the Mulpani Cricket Ground, Dipendra made amends for his overnight’s duck-dismissal slamming a blistering 131-ball 140 leading his side to an imposing 258-7 in 50 overs.
APF remained in the heels of NPC on net run rate before injured captain Sharad Vesawkar returned to face the last seven deliveries and smashed a winning six for a thrilling one-wicket victory as the Prime Minister Cup runners-up finished at 263-9 with one ball to spare.
APF victory was almost identical to their one-wicket win on Sunday at the same ground where they stunned PM Cup champions Tribhuvan Army Club with two balls to spare.
If Abinash Bohora had smashed a second ball six in the last over off Sushan Bhari a day before, Sharad struck Rashid Khan for the maximum against the Policemen who were defending four runs in the final over.
Subash Khakurel and Aasif Sheikh had given APF a cautious start adding 67 runs for the first wicket. Aasif’s hit five fours and a six before falling to Yogendra Singh Karki for a 48-ball 42. Subash added another 29 runs with Sharad before the captain retired hurt.
Pradeep Airee, taking the place of Shankar Rana, departed cheaply for five before Subash completed his half century and shared 32 runs with Kamal Singh Airee (14). Subash fell to Pawan Sarraf hitting six boundaries in his 79-ball 50.
APF were 166-4, practically five with Sharad’s condition unknown, but Sundeep Jora and Sumit Maharjan got involved in a 49-run fifth wicket stand.
Sundeep scored 61 off 65 hitting three sixes and two fours. APF batsmen then lost wickets in clusters and contributed in clusters before Sharad sealed the game with six.
Sumit, whose half century was crucial during Saturday’s victory, was unbeaten on a 32-ball 33. His innings included three fours and a six.
Sharad chipped in 26-ball 20. Pawan Sarraf took 5-45 from 10 overs for NPC.
In a tournament where each defeat is going to hurt, NPC began on a sour note losing their first two wickets with just 22 runs on the board. Dipendra then took over and held the innings before providing the lift.
The national team vice-captain shared 59 runs for the third wicket with opener Sunil Dhamala, 70 runs for the fifth with Pawan, 44 runs for the sixth with Anil Kumar Sah (18) and did the majority of scoring in 49-run partnership with Dilip Nath (four).
Dipendra completed his century off 120 balls smashing roommate Abinash Bohora for a six while he was batting on 99.
While Sunil made a watchful 72-ball 33 with two boundaries, Pawan upped the ante hitting four sixes in his 30-ball 35. Sharad took 3-42 from 10 overs for APF and Abinash Bohora snared 2-54 from 10.