For the fourth successive time, Dipendra ChaudharyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Region No 1 Biratnagar lifted the Birendra Memorial National League cricket tournament trophy at the TU Cricket Stadium today after Unil Shrestha won them an exciting final against hosts Region No 3 Kathmandu.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am extremely happy,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dipendra said after the match. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It would be very difficult for any captain to win a trophy for fourth successive time.Ã¢â‚¬Â No other team has won the national league incepted in 2002.
Unil produced a match-winning performance with his bat scoring brilliant 55 including the winning boundary as Biratnagar achieved the target of 163 runs in 34.2 overs with one wicket in hand. Kathmandu after being put on to bat in the 35-over match scored 162/8 with notable contribution coming from No 8 batsman Raju Basnet Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 50 not out in 39 balls.
RajuÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s absence in the second innings due to thumb fracture also hampered KathmanduÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wishes to exert revenge of 2003 final when they lost to Biratnagar by only four runs. Raju, who had taken 13 wickets in 5 matches, had to stay out with his plastered hand.
Despite losing Mehboob Alam in third over, Biratnagar were in a good position in 12th over on 51/1 but quickly lost three more to struggle at 54/4. With all known batsmen gone back, Unil played a lone hand to safely take his team to a remarkable victory. Yashwant who was run out on UnilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrong call scored 24 while no other batsmen crossed 13.
UnilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 67-ball knock included just a four and a six. Sarad Vesawkar, Abhay Rana and Rikesh Lama each took two wickets and tried in vain to wipe out the tailenders to leave Unil partner-less.
Earlier, Kathmandu batsmen struggled to get runs against some good team-work bowling. Most of them, Rikesh Lama (35), Paresh Lohani (15), Paras Khadka (14) and Gyanendra Malla (15) got a good start but failed to show patience to stay long. Raju, however, rescued Kathmandu with his unbeaten 50 in 39 balls. He added 53 with Abhay Rana (20) for eighth wicket. Raj Kumar and brilliantly bowling Santosh Baral each took two wickets.