Kathmandu – Air India defeated Nepali National Team by 5 wickets to clinch the title of Sagarmatha Cement Road to World Cup here in Tribhuwan University ground today.
Winning the toss, Air India invited Nepal to bat first in a 45 overs (per innings) match which was reduced due to wet conditions in the outfield. Nepal set a competitive target of 276/8 in their 45 overs.
For Nepal, Anil Mandal scored 45 runs (68 balls, 7 fours) while Skipper Paras Khadka and Binod Bhandari managed 61 (57 balls, 6 fours, 1 six) & 79 (63 balls, 7 fours, 3 sixes) runs respectively. Similarly, Sagar Pun contributed 35 (42 balls, 1 four, 2 sixes) & towards the end of Nepal’s inning, Pradeep Airee made a brisk 27 runs in 14 balls.
The foundation of Nepal’s inning was managed by Paras Khadka and Binod Bhandari, who batted for 148 runs partnership for sixth wicket. Raj Bahadur Pal and Hiten Dalal clinched took two wickets each while Faruk Seikh, Kuldip Singh & Sandip Raj Kaushik shared wicket apiece.
Air India then began the chase with a solid 90 runs opening partnership between Hiten Dalal & Manish Sharma. Hitel Dalal (67) & Pradeep Mallik (64) managed to score a half century during the chase. Similarly, the other opener Manish Sharma made run a ball 33 runs while Sandip Raj Kausik, Jagrit Anand managed 34 & 26 runs respectively.
But It was Shafiq Khan’s inning that helped the Air Indian team to win the final of the tournament. He smashed the Nepalese bowlers all over the park to make a match winning knock of 41 runs in 24 balls with 4 sixes and a four. With 10 balls to spare, the visitors chased down the target infront of large number of audiences that came to watch the National team.
Avinash Karna & Sompal Kami both were expensive today giving away 60 and 78 runs in their 8 and 8.2 overs respectively. Basanta Regmi, Paras Khadka and Raj Kumar Pradhan chipped in with a wicket apiece while Sagar Pun grabbed two wickets.
Hiten Dalal was adjudged Man of the Match while, his teammate Pradeep Mallik received Player of the series Award for his 267 runs in 4 matches with 1 century and 2 half century.
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