By a Staff Reporter
Kathmandu – The buildup to the final of the U-19 National Cricket Tournament has become interesting following a one-wicket defeat of Province 1 by Gandaki Province in the league round on Thursday.
With the victory of Gandaki Province, three teams have mathematical chances of entering the final.
During Thursday’s match held at TU Cricket Ground, Gandaki Province met the target of 134 runs in 38 overs losing nine wickets. Arjun Kumal of Gandaki contributed 35 runs off 70 balls that included six boundaries for the team. It was Kiran Poudel and Sudeep Aryal who ensured Gandaki’s victory with an unbeaten 20-run partnership for the last wicket. Kiran scored 12 runs off 24 balls while Sudeep was not out on 2 runs off 19 balls.
Gandaki was struggling at 97/3 when Shrawan Kisku bowled out Arjun Kumal in 25.2 overs. After Kumal was sent to the pavilion, Gandaki lost one after another wicket. After losing three wickets to garner just 16 runs, Gandaki was in a difficult position with 112/8 in 30 overs. However, the tailenders ensured that Gandaki overcame a middle-order collapse to register a thrilling win. Province 1 spinner Dipesh Kandel took four wickets in 10 overs including two maidens giving away 10 runs. However, that was not enough to rescue the team from the clutches of defeat. Another spinner Laba Kamat took three wickets for Province 1.
Earlier, Province 1 won the toss and opted to bat first and were all out for 133 runs in 44.4 overs. Dipesh Kandel of Province one was the team’s top scorer with 46 runs off 113 balls. He had scored four boundaries and a six. Other players who contributed runs for Province 1 were Sonu Ansari (13), Bivek Anand Mehta (14), Sony Mandal (11) and Deepak Joshi (16).
Gandaki’s spinner Kamal Pariyar took three wickets in his six-over spell including one maiden. He gave away 38 runs. Likewise, Sudeep Aryal took two wickets followed by Kiran Poudel, Subash Bhandari and Bishnu Pandey who managed to take one wicket each.
The top two teams in the league round from among the seven provinces will face each other in the final slated for December 5. Lumbini has already secured a place in the final with 10 points from six matches including five wins and a defeat. Sudur Paschim is second with three wins and two defeats from five matches. Sudur Paschim will face Bagmati in the final league match on Friday at TU Cricket Ground. If Sudur Paschim wins the last match, it will enter the final as the second-ranked team. However, if Sudur Paschim gets defeated in the last match, one among Bagmati and Gandaki provinces will enter the final on the basis of net run rate.
Gandaki Province is third with three wins and three defeats from six matches. The net run rate of Gandaki is minus 0.190. Province 1 is fourth with three victories and three defeats from six matches. The net run rate of Province 1 is minus 0.302. Bagmati Province is fifth with two wins and three defeats from five matches.
Sixth-placed Karnali is already out of the tournament with four losses and two wins from six matches while Province 2 lies on the rock bottom with four defeats and two victories.