Bhuwan Karki of Armed Police Force Club bats during a Karnali Premier League T20 cricket match against Mahendranagar Cricket Club at the Kalinchowk Cricket Ground in Surkhet on Wednesday.
KATHMANDU, May 2: Player of the match Bhuvan Karki scored 20 runs and picked up two wickets to help departmental team Armed Police Force Club (APF) defeat Mahendranagar Cricket Academy by 18 runs to reach the semifinals of the ongoing second season of Karnali Premier League. APF finished on top of Group B by winning the last group match played at Kalinchowk Cricket Ground in Surkhet on Wednesday.
APF will now face another departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club, the runner-up of Group A, in the second semifinal match whereas the runner-up of Group B, New Horizon Butwal, will face the winner of Group A, Karnali XI, in the first semifinal match. Both knock-out matches will be played on Friday.
Defending the target of 144 runs, Karki conceded 12 runs from his four overs and was helped by three wickets from U-19 fast bowler Kamal Singh Airee. Skipper Sharad Vesawkar, Amar Singh Routela, and Yagyaman Kumal shared a wicket each to limit Mahendranagar for 125 runs for the loss of eight wickets at the end of 20 overs.
Santosh Bhatta scored an inspiring 50 runs to keep Mahendranagar in the hunt for the chase but lack of support from other batsmen cost them the match. Bhatta smashed four boundaries and three sixes during his 35-ball stay. However, apart from opening batsman Hemant Karki’s 30 runs from 38 deliveries that included five boundaries, and Bikash Agri’s unbeaten 11 runs from three deliveries which included a four and a six, none of the other batsmen were able to reach double figures.
Earlier, APF won the toss and elected to bat first. In contrast to the chasing team, seven APF batsmen reached double figures to help the departmental team post a winning total of 143 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 20 overs. Sumit Maharjan top-scored with 26 runs from 22 deliveries which included a four and a six. Likewise, Karki’s 20 runs from 18 deliveries helped push the final total. Vesawkar, Shankar Rana, Pradeep Airee, Aayushman Bam and Kamal Singh Airee further contributed 10, 14, 12, 15 and unbeaten 12 runs, respectively.
Aakash Chand and Bhatta shared three wickets each, supported by Bikram Thagunna’s two, and Binod Lama and Dinesh Agri’s one wicket each to help Mahendranagar limit APF to 143 in 20 overs.
APF won all its three games and finished the group stage as winners of the Group A. Similarly, New Horizon Butwal tipped Mahendranagar on the second position to reach semifinals after the later teams’ defeat against the group winner.