Jun 5, 2018-Pradeep Airee and Subash Khakurel struck scintillating centuries as Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club entered the semi-finals of the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament with a 96-run Duckworth/Lewis victory over Province No 2 on Monday.
Electing to bat first at the TU grounds, Pradeep struck the highest individual score in domestic one-day national smashing 158 off 135 balls and Subash scored a well-composed ton leading APF to 339-6 in 50 overs. Province 2 were 64 without loss and after a lengthy rain intervention, they got the revised target of 202 from 28 overs.
An upset was still on the cards with Province 2 going strong at 73-0 but they went on to lose wickets at regular intervals before finishing at 104-9 in 28 overs. Opener Hari Shankar Sah top scored for Province 2 with a 52-ball 38 hitting three boundaries. Another opener Suraj Patel made 34 off 53 hitting five boundaries and a six.
Karan KC and skipper Basanta Regmi took three wickets each for APF who are now at the top of Group ‘A’ table on net run rate after they were tied on six points from three matches each with Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC). The two teams clash each other on Tuesday to decide the group winners.
The day belonged to the two centurions who are now in a comeback bid for the national cricket team. While Subash’s recent years have been hit by injuries that saw him lose the national team spot, Pradeep’s poor form has seen him the opening spot he had once cemented. On Monday, Pradeep ended up breaking the previous best individual score of 151 runs held by Raju Khadka against Birgunj.
Pradeep knew how important the innings was. “I was not able to make big score for a long time. “Nepali cricket’s real journey has begun with the One Day International status and I would like to launch my comeback with this new beginning,” said Pradeep adding he was targeting a big score. “I was thinking about scoring 200. If I can smash five or six sixes in the last five overs, I would reach 200 but missed out on that,” he said.
Seamer Divyanshu Mallick had given Province 2 early breakthrough removing Anil Sah (three) with 20 runs on the board but the real nightmare began for them after Pradeep and Subash began to play fluently and at the same time batted with patience. The two added 231 runs for the second wicket as APF posted the tournament-high score.
Pradeep struck 13 boundaries and eight sixes, while Subash’s 130-ball 103 included seven fours and two sixes. Divyanshu picked up five wickets but in the process bled 84 runs in nine overs. Subash hoped Tuesday’s innings would help him in his comeback bid.
“I was playing in a 50-over tournament after a long time so needed to play an innings where I don’t have to take risk. The innings went as planned. There is a big challenge to get inside the national team because there are young players who have been doing really good. I would just focus on my game and leave the rest,” said Subash.
At the Mulpani Cricket Ground, Province 5 eased to a 30-run Duckworth/Lewis victory over Province 3 to climb to the top in Group ‘B’ on net run rate after being tied on five points with Province 7. Nepal Police Club (NPC) are third with three points from two matches. Province 7 have played all their four matches and Wednesday’s result of the match between Province 5 and NPC will decide their fate.
Lal Bahadur Adhikari took 4-33 Province 5 bundled out Province 3 for 151 in 44.5 overs after they elected to bat first. Province 5 were 89-3 in 20.5 overs before rain intervened and no play was possible. Province by were 30 runs ahead by the time.
Sandeep Sunar made 38 off 35 with seven boundaries and a six before retiring hurt and Shankar Rana scored 19 off 31 with two fours. Earlier, Krishna Karki, Sandeep and Bikram Bhushal also took two wickets each for Province 5. Bhupendra Thapa top scored with 46 off 66 with three fours for Province 3.
PM Cup summaries
APF 339-6 in 50 overs (P Airee 158, S Khakurel 103; D Mallick 5-84, R Singh 1-20) beat Province Two 105-9 in 28 overs (H Shah 38, S Patel 34; B Regmi 3-10, K KC 3-30) by 96 runs under D/L method; Man-of-the-match: P Airee
Province Five 89-3 in 20.5 overs (S Sunar 38, S Rana 19; A Jha 1-11, K Mahato 1-28) beat Province Three 152-10 in 44.5 overs (B Thapa 46, R Shrivastavav 21*; L Adhikari 4-33, K Karki 2-7) by 30 runs under D/L method; Man-of-the-match: L Adhikari