KATHMANDU, May 30: Hari Shankar Shah’s all-round performance helped Province 2 to get back to winning ways, defeating winless Karnali Province by 9 wickets at a Group B match of the ongoing Prime Minister Cup One-Day Cricket Tournament held at Tribhuvan University Cricket Ground in Kirtipur on Wednesday. Province 2 chased the target of 94 runs in 16 overs to complete its first win in two matches.
Player of the match Shah smashed unbeaten 55 runs off 64 deliveries which included seven boundaries, and shared a partnership of 57 runs for the second wicket with Ravi Shah who scored unbeaten 16 runs off 15 deliveries including a boundary.
Prakash Jaishi was the only wicket-taker for Karnali who dismissed opening batsman Hasim Ansari for 17 runs. Ansari had shared an opening partnership of 39 runs with Hari Shankar Shah. Karnali’s Lalit Pyakurel didn’t bowl in the match whereas Sudan Pokhrel bowled an over before being taken out due to injury. Both had registered five-wicket-hauls earlier in the tournament.
Earlier, Karnali won the toss and elected to bat first. None of the batsmen were able to contribute any substantial score as Karnali kept losing wickets at quick intervals. Province 2 opening pace bowlers Rashid Khan and Divyanshu Malik bowled at right channels from the first ball as plenty of catches were dropped at slip cordon.
All three -- first, second and third -- slip fielders dropped their respective chances. Rashid picked two wickets whereas Malik scalped the important wicket of Sushant Singh Thapa to start the floodgates. Skipper and opening batsman batting at the middle order, Rabindra Jung Shahi, was dropped on the first delivery he faced off Rashid. However, he could only collect 14 runs before getting clean bowled by Kumar Thapa who registered three wickets.
Jaishi was the top-scorer for Karnali Province, contributing crucial 37 runs off 54 deliveries which included four boundaries. Twelve runs in extras were the third highest contributor of the innings after Jaishi and Shahi. Left-arm orthodox spinner Samsaad Sheikh and right-arm off-spinner Shah also chipped in two wickets each to help Province 2 bundle Karnali out for 93 runs.
With three defeats in three matches, Karnali’s chance of reaching semifinals is officially over, whereas Province 2 has made a triumphant comeback in the tournament after suffering a heavy loss in the first match against Tribhuvan Army Club.
Karnali is on the bottom of the points table whereas Province 2 has jumped on the third position after collecting two points.
Dipendra Singh Airee registered a five-wicket-haul to help departmental team Nepal Police Club register a 75-run win against Province 1 in the Group B match played at Mulpani Cricket Stadium in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
Player of the match Amit Shrestha registered the first ever century, 106, at the Mulpani’s lower cricket ground in an historic achievement to help his team post a total of 85 runs in 43.1 overs before bundling out Province 1 for 110 runs in 38.3 overs.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Lalit Rajbanshi scalped three wickets. Similarly, Sagar Dhakal and Aarif Sheikh shared a wicket each to help Police win its second match in a row, both played at Mulpani.
None of the Province 1 batsmen were able to cross the 30 runs mark as opening batsman Sunny Pun’s 27 runs off 59 deliveries remained the top contributor. Likewise, Meenash Thapa (19), Dipesh Kandel (15), Firdose Ansari (12) and skipper Pushpa Thapa (10) were the double-digit scorers in the innings.
Earlier, Nepal Police won the toss and elected to bat first. Shrestha smashed 15 boundaries and a six during his 118-ball stay. Shrestha, batting at number three, held one end as wickets kept falling at the other. He shared a crucial partnership of 68 runs with Kushal Bhurtel who followed his first day's half-century against Karnali with a 38-ball 24 runs.
Shrestha was the ninth wicket to fall in the first innings. Skipper Manjeet Shrestha and Ram Naresh Giri supported with 11 runs each to help Police post 185 runs before getting all out in 43.1 Overs.
In an all-round bowling effort, five Province 2 bowlers shared two wickets each. Kamal Khatri, Firdose Ansari, Pushpa Thapa, Dipesh Kandel, and Siddhant Lohani were the wicket-takers.
Nepal Police has risen to the second place on the points table with the win, behind Army on the first position. Province 2 won its match to keep semifinal hopes alive, although its journey ahead is difficult after suffering two defeats in two matches. Sudur Paschim will take on Province 5 during a Group A encounter on Thursday.