A youthful Nepal Police Club (NPC) brushed aside settled departmental giants Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club by 34 runs under Duckworth/Lewis Method to enter the final of the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament on Thursday.
Kushal Bhurtel struck a half century and Siddhant Lohani played some gritty innings lifting NPC to 252-9 in 50 overs. Under trouble to match-up the required
run rate with rain expected later in the day, APF made 138 in 28.3 overs but lost six wickets in the process before rain intervened.
The turning moment of the match came in the first ball of the 28th over when Prithu Baskota (19) was run out and from 10 runs behind, they trailed NPC by 28 runs according to D/L method. Skipper Gyanendra Malla smashed two consecutive sixes against Sushil Kandel in the 29th over to raise some hopes but his dismissal in the third ball completely tilted the match towards NPC.
Gyanendra was the top scorer for APF making a brisk 45 from 35 balls hitting three sixes and three fours. Opener Sandeep Sunar was the next best scorer making 36 off 45 with three fours and two sixes. Subash Khakurel (17) and Aasif Sheikh (16) had also crossed double figures.
Spinner Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi did the most of the damage picking up 3-31 from 10 overs accounting for the wickets of Subash, Sandeep and Anil Sah, who was out for duck.
Earlier, openers Sunil Dhamala and Amit Shrestha made 26 runs each on their way to sharing a 67-run partnership before Gyanendra removed both the openers in the 15th over.
Kushal was promoted to No 3 for the crucial game and he proved his worth by involving in crucial partnership, the main being a 68-run stand with Dipendra Singh Airee. Dipendra made 37 from 35 balls with four boundaries, while Kushal completed his half century with a six off Bhuwan Karki in the 35th over before losing his wicket to Arun Airee the next over.
Kushal’s 69-ball 52 also included four boundaries. After the fall of two set batsmen, skipper Manjeet Shrestha (22) and Siddhant took the responsibility of taking NPC to a challenging total sharing 42 runs for the seventh wicket.
Siddhant played some attacking shots and made 40 from 38 with four boundaries and a six. Anil took 3-39 from nine overs, while Arun also had two scalps along with Gyanendra.
NPC will play the winners of Tuesday’s second semi-final game between Tribhuvan Army Club and Western Region in the final on Wednesday.