Region No 3 Kathmandu entered the final of the Springwood National T20 Cricket Tournament with the fourth win in as many matches – this time over Region No 1 Biratnagar by 8 wickets.
In the match that looked like a rehearsal for final, Kathmandu restricted Biratnagar for 109/9 with Abhaya Rana leading from front with 4/28 and scoring the required run in 17.3 overs losing just two wickets – thanks to Paresh Lohani’s 57.
In the other match of the day, Region No 4 Bhairahawa beat Region No 2 Birgunj by a wicket to remain in contention for the remaining berth in the final.
Biratnagar’s batted first with Mehboob Alam and Sunny Pun. They added 24 until Abhaya, who had missed earlier two matches, found hard-hitting Mehboob’s wicket. Mehboob scored 17 off 14 balls with a four and a six.
In next over, man of the match Abhaya got two wickets in two balls as Puspha Thapa (2) gave a catch to Dipendra Chaudhary and Manjeet Shrestha saw his stumps uprooted. A wicket in his last over meant the seamer finished a four-over spell with four wickets putting Kathmandu on top.
Left-arm spinner Raju Basnet then grabbed two wickets – of Ajay Rajbanshi (7) and opener Sunny Pun (37 off 37 balls with two fours) as Biratnagar were left reeling at 82/6 at completion of 13 overs.
Kundan Singh’s 21 off 24 balls and Santosh Baral’s nine ensured they crossed the three digit and had something to play for. Dipendra too finished with a couple of wickets.
Biratnagar’s hopes of defending the total rested on early wickets and they failed to grab a single. Old guards Paresh and Dipendra added 87 runs in 13 overs virtually ending the match. Dipendra went first scoring 31 off 40 balls with two fours and a six stumped by Sunny off leggie Raj Kumar Pradhan.
Paresh stayed till the team was six runs short of victory before getting out in similar fashion – stumped by Sunny off Raj Kumar. He scored 57 off 47 balls with four hits to fence and two over it.
Sanjay Shrestha (12*) and captain Paras Khadka (5*) remained unbeaten.
Earlier in the morning, Birgunj suffered third loss of the event in a low scoring match. Batting first, Birgunj scored 82 in 19.2 overs with Suraj Timilsina (25 off 22 with four fours) top scoring for them. Contributions also came from Akash Singh Pariyar (15) and Sanjam Regmi (13).
For Bhairahawa, spinner Rahul Kumar BK was the tick taking four wickets for 13 runs in three overs while Basant Regmi and Shakti Gauchan also picked two each.
If Bhairahawa were thinking of easy chase, they were wrong. A very tight bowling by Avinash Karn who gave away only four runs in three overs put them on back foot. Anil Mandal (4/15) and Sanjam Regmi (2/13) made the job hard as Bhairahawa struggled to find a hero.
In the dramatic last over bowled by Binod Das, Amrit Bhattarai (8 off 9) was run out but last man in Lal Bahadur Adhikari hit a four off the first ball he faced for the victory.
For Bhairahawa’s victory, Faizal Khan (21), Region Praju (13) and Akash Gupta (12) contributed runs.
Photo by NepalSportsPhoto.com