KATHMANDU, June 3: Province 7 spinners delivered a fine spell of accurate bowling against Province 3 to secure its second win in four games to go on the top of the Group B table and strengthen its hopes of qualifying for the next round of Inter-provincial Prime Minister Cup with five points on the points table.
Left-arm spinner Binod Lama and off-spinner Sher Malla shared five wickets conceding 2.2 runs per over in their combined 20 to propel Province 7 to two wickets victory chasing the target of 117 runs in a match played at the TU Cricket Ground in Kirtipur on Saturday.
Sanju Damai (25), skipper Bijay Rana (24) and Arun Airee (21) of Province 7 reached double digits in a tricky chase to overcome the total in the 40th over set by Province 3. Left-arm spinner Sagar Dhakal, and skipper Jitendra Singh Thakuri of Province 3 picked up two wickets each but could not sustain the pressure of defending a low-score target. The team that won first match succumbed to its first defeat of the league stage on Saturday. Kishore Mahato, Pratish GC and Sanjay Basnet also chipped in a wicket each.
Earlier, Province 3 won the toss and elected to bat first in overcast condition at Kirtipur. Opening the batting, Province 3 skipper Thakuri top scored with 40 runs. He played a patient innings at one end whilst wickets kept falling at the other. He faced 77 deliveries before falling LBW to a Binod Lama delivery. He smashed four boundaries and a six. The next top-scorer was right-handed hard-hitting batsman Sonu Tamang who smashed 29 runs in 20 deliveries he faced coming in at number eight. He smashed three fours and two sixes in his cameo that added much needed runs to dwindling Province 3 innings. The only other double-digit scorer for the team was Sanjay Basnet making 10 runs which included a six and a four in his 15-ball stay at the crease. Bikram Aagri registered a 3-wicket-haul conceding 28 runs in his 5.3 overs whereas Bikram Thagunna picked up a wicket to aid Lama and Malla to wrap the Province 3 innings for meager 116 runs in 33.3 overs.
Sher Malla was adjudged player-of-the-match for his 4-wicket-haul. He is now leading the wickets chart for PM cup with 11 wickets in 4 games.
APF’s second win
In a Group A encounter played at the Mulpani Cricket Ground on Saturday, Armed Police Force (APF) Club consolidated its position on top of the table after comfortably overcoming Province 1 by nine wickets. Opener Anil Sah, who was later declared player-of-the-match, was not out smashing 62 runs in 48 deliveries including five boundaries and three sixes.
Earlier, APF won the toss and invited Province 1 to bat first in Mulpani. Six different bowlers picked up at least a wicket in the match to bundle the batting team out for 127 runs in 42 overs. Sandeep Dhungana (29), Minash Thapa (27) and skipper Pushpa Thapa (20) were the only batsmen to reach 20-run barrier in a good bowling performance by APF bowlers led by skipper Basant Regmi. Pace bowler Karan KC was the pick of the APF bowlers who took two wickets in his 8 over spell conceding 14 runs with two maidens in conditions tailor-made for bowlers. Bhuvan Karki and Amar Singh Routela also chipped in two wickets each. Kamal Singh Airee and Pawan Sarraf shared one each.
APF completed the chase in 17th over helped by Sah’s blistering knock as Pradeep Airee smashed 23 off 19 balls on top of the innings which included five fours. Number three batsman Prithu Baskota steered APF home with an unbeaten run-a-ball 32. Dhungana was the only wicket taker for the provincial side.
Province 4 will take on Tribhuvan Army Club at Mulpani on Sunday in a Group A encounter, whereas Province 5 will line-up against Province 6 for the Group B face-off in Kirtipur.