HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Opener Anil Mandal once again led from the front as Region-VII (Janakpur) defeated Region-V (Nepalgunj) by eight wickets for their second consecutive victory in the Pepsi Standard Chartered One Day National Cricket Tournament today.
In another match, Region-IV (Bhairahawa) put a halt on a two-match winning run of Region-VIII (Pokhara) with a six-wicket victory. Anil — who had made a 106 not out in Janakpur’s three-wicket victory against Region-III (Kathmandu) in the tournament opener — once again guided the team to victory with 82 not out.
Janakpur now top Group ‘B’ with four points from two matches. Raj Mohammad took four middle order wickets as Nepalgunj — who lost their last nine wickets for just 104 runs — were 158 all out in 34.3 overs.
Janakpur lost opener Pravas Jha (seven) and No 3 Hari Shankar Jha (15) — both falling to Nasir Ansari — with 44 runs on the board in their chase but a fine partnership from Anil and Chandan Jha saw them make 160-2 in 37 overs. Man-of-the-match Anil hit nine boundaries in his patient 105-ball innings and Chandan made 37 off 77 hitting four fours.
Earlier, Nepalgunj lost opener Rupesh Sharma (naught) early but skipper Mahesh Chhetri and Bhupendra Thapa (12) revived their innings with a 52-run partnership until Raj wreaked havoc. Mahesh made a 53-ball 31 with four boundaries before handing a return catch to Samir Nepal.
No 7 Amar Singh Routela took Nepalgunj past 150-run mark and was the last man out, trapped leg before by Raj. Routela made 61 off 51 with seven boundaries and three sixes. Skipper Kumar Prasun also had three scalps for Janakpur.
In Group ‘A’ match at Pulchowk Engineering College grounds, Bhairahawa spinners ran riot to bundle out Pokhara for the tournament-low 84 in 31.3 overs.
Bhairahawa reached 86-4 in 15.3 overs. After seamer Moinuddin Khan got rid of Pokhara opener Nischal Pandey (seven), it was all spinners’ show from Bhairahawa. Another opener Arjun Raj Adhikari and Rijan Prajoo — the only batsmen to make runs in double figures — added 34-runs for the second wicket but once Lal Bahadur Adhikari got rid of the latter,
Pokhara lost their last nine wickets for just 37 runs. Man-of-the-match Sushan Bhari took four wickets — including that of Rijan — in his nine-economical overs conceding just 12 runs, while Sagar Pun polished off the tail to return with with figures of 3-12 from 4.3 overs. Lal Bahadur also grabbed two wickets.
Rijan top scored for Pokhara with 39 off 66 with two sixes and as many fours. In reply, Sagar and his opening partner Faijlur Rahman Khan virtually sealed the match adding 49 runs for the first wicket. Rahul Kumar BK gave Pokhara some consolation dismissing both the batsmen but Antim Thapa and Nischal Chaudhary saw their team home.
Sagar made 26 off 35 with three fours and one six, while Faijlur’s 21-ball 22 included five hits to the fence. Antim made 16 off 15 with three boundaries and when Pradip Kharel bowled him, Bhairahawa were just two runs away from victory. Nischal remained unbeaten on 11 from nine balls and hit one six and a four.