Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) cancelled out a remarkable batting comeback from Western Region to for a four-wicket victory to enter the final of the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament on Tuesday.
From 66-7, in-form hard hitter Saurav Khanal and Krishna Karki lifted Western to challenging 235-9 in 49 overs after the day’s play was reduced to one over each following overnight rain.
TAC dealt with the target sensibly after a century stand from Sagar Pun and Anil Mandal but it was Rajesh Pulami Magar who came up with his best holding nerves to finish off the game as the Armymen replied with 241-6 in 48.2 overs.
In what was expected to be a lopsided game considering a star-studded TAC squad and Western’s position of 66-7 after 18.4 overs, Saurav and Krishna confirmed it was not going to be a casual walk in the park sharing a record 145-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
The duo recorded highest ever partnership for the eighth wicket. After the early wobble, Saurav and Krishna kept the bowlers at check before opening up fireworks in the closing stages of the game.
Saurav, who had the scores of 90 not out, 78 not out and 20 in the previous three matches, made 82 off 86 balls with eight sixes and two boundaries. Krishna scored 75 from 89 balls with two fours and six sixes. Sompal Kami, Sagar Pun, Jitendra Mukhiya and Sahab Alam picked up two wickets each for TAC.
TAC lost opener Mahesh Chhetri (three) early in the chase but Sagar and Anil calmly consolidated the innings with a 108-run second wicket partnership. Sagar made 65 off 79 with six fours and two sixes, while Anil collected 48 from 80 with two fours before Dhiraj Shahi removed both batsmen in consecutive deliveries.
Rajesh then negotiated with the target with Binod Bhandari (17) and Raju Rijal (26) but Western hit back with wickets of the latter two along with new man Rahul Kumar BK.
At one stage, TAC needed 35 runs from win from the last four overs but Rajesh cut loose smashing one six and two over the rope against Saurav in the 46th and 48th over before Sompal finished the game with a six when the score was tie in the final over. The two batsmen shared 41 unbeaten runs for the seventh wicket. Man-of-the-match Rajesh made 55 off 53 in an innings that also included two boundaries.
TAC will meet Nepal Police Club in the final on Thursday.