NPC put one foot in semi-finals
Nepal Police Club (NPC) put their one foot in the semi-finals of the first Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament with a thumping nine-wicket victory over Eastern Region on Thursday.
Electing to field first in the Group ‘B’ game at the TU Stadium, NPC skittled out Eastern for just 104 runs in 37.1 overs before a half century from Sunil Dhamala helped them reply with 105-1 in 17.1 overs. NPC stay at the top of the table with four points from two matches ahead of Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) who have two points from one match.
Eastern - who were also bundled out for a paltry 103 in their match against TAC - are now all but out of the tournament following their second consecutive defeat. Another team in the pool Far Western Region are still in the hunt for the semi-finals provided they win both their remaining matches.
Dhamala, brought back in the side after resting him in NPC’s first match against Farwest on Wednesday, provided a perfect start adding 45 runs for the first wicket with Amit Shrestha (seven) in eight overs. After Shrestha fell to Bidhan Goswami, Dhamala continued to impress with the bat and forged another 70-run unbroken partnership for the second wicket with Dilip Nath.
Dhamala, the national team opener, completed his half century with a six off Raj Thapa when NPC had needed seven runs to win the game. Dhamala finished with 49 from 52 balls with three sixes and as many boundaries. Nath chipped in 36 off 33 with six boundaries.
Dhamala knew the significance of his half century. “The tournament is very important for me because it serves as players’ selection for the WCL (World Cricket League) match against Hong Kong. The ball was coming nicely on to the bat and I just played my natural game,” said Dhamala.
Dhamala recently made his debut against Kenya in the WCL home matches in March but couldn’t impress much returning with the scores of three and one respectively.
Eastern’s innings once again revolved around their allrounder Mehboob Alam and skipper Pushpa Thapa whose departure meant next to the team’s collapse. Thapa (nine) was one of the first five batsmen Eastern had lost with just 52 runs on the board.
Alam once again helped his team cross triple figures sharing 40 runs for the sixth wicket with Jugal Chaudhari (eight). With Alam’s departure to Manjeet Shrestha in the 26th over, Eastern went on to lose their last five wickets for just 12 runs. Alam made 40 from 47 with three sixes and two fours. He had also made 36 against TAC in first match.
Siddhant Lohani was on a hat-trick when he removed Chaudhari and Mukund Yadav (three) in the 34th over but Dipendra Singh Airee dropped new man Raj Thapa (three) at slips the very next ball. Amal Das (13) was Eastern’s only second batsman to reach double figures.
Lohani finished with the figures of 3-3 from 3.1 overs. Lalit Singh Bhandari (2-17) and Sushil Kandel (2-20) had four wickets between them.
Nepal Police Club 105-1 in 17.1 overs (S Dhamala 52 not out, D Nath 36 not out; B Goswami 1-19) beat Eastern Region 104 all out in 37.1 overs (M Alam 40, A Das 13; S Lohani 3-3, S Kandel 2-22)
by nine wickets
Man-of-the-match: S Dhamala (NPC)