KATHMANDU, April 16: Region No 2 Birgunj thrashed Region No 8 Pokhara by 83 runs on Monday to edge closer to the final of the ongoing Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament.
Birgunj leads Group B with two wins and requires another victory to ensure a place in the final of the tournament being held in Kathmandu.
In the match played at the TU Ground, Kirtipur on Monday, Birgunj won the toss and opted to bat first. Birgunj was bowled out for 133 runs in 23.1 overs. Opener Hasim Ansari and Bijay Ghalan shared a 60-run partnership for the first wicket.
Ghalan (7) was the first Birgunj batsman to be dismissed. Aggressive batsman Ansari returned to the pavilion after scoring 48 runs off 29 balls with eight boundaries. After the fall of Ansari, Birgunj continued to lose wickets at regular intervals.
Shiva Tandukar scored 28 runs off 20 balls with six boundaries. Bibek Dali and Aakib Ansari shared a 30-run partnership for the seventh wicket and guided the team to a modest total. Dali scored 14 runs while Ansari was not out on 13 runs.
Sunil Kandel grabbed five wickets in eight overs conceding 22 runs, while Govinda Pradhan took four wickets for Pokhara. But their efforts went in vain as Pokhara failed to chase the target.
Pokhara was all out with just 50 runs on the board as Bibek Dali grabbed four wickets and Aakib Ansari took three to help Birgunj bundle out Pokhara in 24.2 overs.
Sagar Bhattarai was the highest scorer with 12 runs while Anil Gurung scored 10 runs. Three batsmen of Pokhara were out for a duck while the remaining batsmen failed to reach double figures.
In another match played at the ground of Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk, Region No 3 Kathmandu registered a thrilling six-run victory over Region No 1 Biratnagar.
Wining the toss, Kathmandu was all out for 137 runs in 40.2 overs. Indra Kamal Manandhar scored 42 runs off 72 balls with four boundaries and a six. Opener Sharad Khadka scored 21 runs off 28 balls with four boundaries.
Jugal Kishor Chaudhary grabbed four wickets for Biratnagar while Hari Chaulagain, Amit Dahal and Siddhant Lohani shared two wickets each.
Chasing the target of 138 runs, Biratnagar was bowled out for 131 runs in 40.4 overs. Ujjwal Thapa took three wickets while Paresh Bahadur Singh, Bijay Gautam and Sharad Khadka shared two wickets each to bowl Biratnagar out for 131 runs.
Siddhant Lohani was the highest scorer for Biratnagar with 23 runs. Sunam Shrestha scored 15 runs while Kamal Kishor Premi remained unbeaten on 14 runs.
Age controversy affects cricket tournament
Controversy has erupted in the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament after an over aged player was not allowed to play while another continues to play in the tournament.
Skipper of Region No 3 Kathmandu, Sunam Gautam, was not allowed to play the match against Region No 1 Biratnagar citing age bar limit while another over-aged player Hasim Ansari of Region No 2 Birgunj played against Region No 8 Pokhara on Monday.
According to Kiran Rana, member of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), Gautam has already crossed the age to play in the tournament.
Gautam’s date of birth in ACC in 1988 which shows that his age is currently 24 years. Meanwhile, Ansari was barred from playing during the ACC U-19 Cup and Bangladesh tour citing over age.
As per Ansari’s passport his date of birth is 1990, according to which his age is 22. Ansari, however, has claimed that his date of birth in his first passport was registered erroneously, which has been amended in the new passport.