KATHMANDU, Jun 10: The departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) Club pace bowler Amar Singh Routela removed in-form batsmen Aarif Sheikh and Dipendra Singh Airee in the same over to reduce Nepal Police Club to five wickets for 63 in the 17th over effectively changing the momentum and course of the match sealed his team’s spot in final against the other departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club which was shifted for monday.
Player-of-the-match Routela added one more wicket to his name defending 16 runs in the last over of the match. APF won by nine runs in a rain-marred second semifinal match played at the TU Cricket Ground in Kirtipur on Saturday.
Chasing the original target of 209 runs, Police was 59 for the loss of two wickets at the end of 24th over when the rain arrived in Kirtipur. Police had lost the wicket of Dilip Nath (16) and Amit Shrestha (2) to Kamal Singh Airee and Karan KC respectively whereas Sunil Dhamala and Dipendra Airee were standing firm at the crease. After a delay of more than an hour, the match resumed with revised D\L target of 141 runs from 28 overs. Police lost the wicket of Dhamala (24) in a run-out which opened the flood-gates for APF to come back in the match utilized by accurate bowling of Routela.
Kushal Bhurtel took the game to the final over before getting run-out in the first ball for the individual score of run-a-ball 30. He smashed two fours and a six.
Routela was aided by skipper Basant Regmi who removed the reputed big-hitters in Police Club skipper Manjeet Shrestha and Siddhant Lohani for 11 and 10 runs respectively. Shrestha could only manage a six in eight deliveries he faced whereas Lohani registered one four on 13 balls he faced. Karan KC and Kamal Airee also chipped in a wicket each to complete the victory for APF.
Earlier, APF won the toss and elected to bat first. All-rounder Dipendra Airee scalped three late wickets to influence a mini-collapse limiting the batting team to 208 runs losing all its wickets. He was helped by Sheikh and Lalit Rajbanshi’s two wickets each to derail the APF batting which was staring at a bigger total at the stage of 166-3 in the 41st over.
APF opener Anil Sah top-scored for the winning side with 45 runs from 79 deliveries including six boundaries. The tournament-centurions Subash Khakurel and Pradeep Airee contributed 21 and 24 runs respectively in the match. Similarly, former Nepal U-19 captain Prithu Baskota provided much-needed boost to APF innings scoring brisk 40 from 48 deliveries which included five well-placed boundaries. He was clean-bowled by Rajbanshi attempting a lofted straight shot coming down the wicket. Rohit Kumar Paudel (32) and Regmi (14) were the only other double-digit scorers in the innings. Lalit Singh Bhandari and Sushil Kandel picked up a wicket each for Police.
APF has qualified in the final of the Inter-provincial Prime Minister Cup for the first in the short two-year history of the competition. It will clash with the two-time finalists Tribhuvan Army Club on Monday. Army shared the trophy with Police in the last edition when rain intervened the match in the second innings.