Army makes winning start to Prime Minister Cup

Published On: May 23, 2017 09:05 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 23: An all-round performance from Sagar Pun helped Tribhuvan Army Club make a winning start to the 1st Prime Minister Cup One Day National Cricket Tournament beating Eastern Region by nine wickets on Tuesday. 

Player-of-the-match Sagar claimed five wickets to limit Eastern Region for just 103 runs in 32.3 overs and stroked 40 runs remaining not out to help Army meet the target in 18.4 overs.  

With the win over Eastern Region, Army has now accumulated two points to stay top in Group B.  

In the match played at TU cricket ground, Kirtipur, Eastern Region had won the toss and chose to bat first but was packed for the low total after Army's bowlers including Sagar, Sompal Kami and Sushan Bhari displayed impressive bowling as they shared all 10 wickets between them. 

Mahaboob Alam stroked highest 36 runs for Eastern Region smashing three sixes and two boundaries facing 42 balls before being sent to the pavilion in Sagar Pun's delivery.

Mahaboob also built up a 26-run partnership with skipper Puspa Thapa for the fourth wicket which was the biggest partnership for the losing side. Meanwhile, Skipper Thapa's personal record was below par as he made just four runs off 20 balls before getting dismissed in Sompal's delivery.  

Earlier, Eastern Region's opener Bidhan Goswani tried to lay the platform for a respectable total making 19 runs hitting one six and a boundary before getting leg before wicket in Sushan Bhari's delivery. Ankit Subedi who came to bat at number three contributed 12 runs while none other batsmen touched double digit for Eastern Region. To limit Eastern Region within the low score, Sagar ducked Luv Kamat and Firdosh Anasari while Minash Thapa (2), Mukund Yadav (2) also were sent to the pavilion in his deliveries. 

Beside Eastern Region's skipper Puspa, Sompal also dismissed Amal Das (5) while Sushan's personal third wicket came when he sent Ravi Roy (9) to the pavilion.

Meanwhile, Army team met the target losing just one wicket. Departmental side didn't make positive start to the innings as its opener Mahesh Chhetri was ducked by Mahaboob Alam. However, Sagar building up a 106-run partnership with Anil Mandal for the second wicket paved the way for Army's victory. Sagar smashed three boundaries and one six to make 40 runs while Anil contributed 56 runs hitting eight boundaries off 63 balls. 

After leading his team to the victory in the opening match, Army's skipper Binod Bhandari said that the match was easy. “We pulled the victory without facing any pressure. The opponent was comparatively weaker so it was an easy match for us,” said skipper Bhandari, who is also a member of the national team.

“With due respect to the regional teams, our main competition is against departmental teams - Armed Police Force (APF) and Nepal Police Club. So I expect the next match against  Far-western Region also to be an easy encounter,” added Bhandari. 

Meanwhile, Eastern Region's skipper Puspa Thapa said that the wicket was new for the majority of the players of his team which prevented them to play up to the mark. “In our team, except me and Mahaboob remaining players have played very less matches in this ground which is not helping,” said Thapa. 

“This match has given us an idea about the pitch so hopefully we will display better performance in the next match,” added Thapa. 

He also said that failing to build a decent partnership was another reason behind the defeat. “We lost the batsmen so cheaply and also failed to make a decent partnership which cost us dearly,” concluded Thapa.

On Wednesday, Nepal Police Club will take on Far-western Region in another Group B encounter.  

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