KATHMANDU, Dec 21: Armed Police Force (APF) Club defended the title of the Pepsi Standard Chartered National One-Day Cricket Tournament on Friday as APF defeated Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) by six wickets in the final played at the TU Cricket Ground, Kirtipur.
Half-centuries by captain Paras Khadka and opener Subash Khakurel not only helped APF successfully chase the target of 222 runs, the highest in the final of National One-Day under the regional format, but also to eclipse a century of Bhairahawa opener Fajlur Rahman Khan.
APF had won the last edition of the tournament as it had beaten Nepal Police Club in the final chasing the target of 217 runs successfully.
The winners. (Photo: Bijay Rai)
APF elected to field but its expectation of bowling out Bhairahawa faded away as opener Fajlur Khan scored a century. Bhairahawa was all out for 221 runs by the end of the 50th over. Khan scored 124 runs off 155 balls.
He struck 12 boundaries and four sixes. Khan became the first batsman to score century in the final of the national One-Day tournament under the regional format. Subash Pradhan (28 runs off 47 balls) was the second highest contributor for Bhairahawa.
Sharad Vesawkar took three wickets for APF while Amrit Bhattarai, Sunam Gautam, Basant Regmi, Shakti Gauchan and Sanjam Regmi claimed a wicket each. Two of the Bhairahawa batsmen were short to the crease.
Chasing the huge total, APF sealed the match in the first ball of the 35th over losing only four wickets as Vesawkar (unbeaten 29 runs) struck a straight six. APF skipper Khadka remained unbeaten with 86 runs off 57 balls. He struck 10 boundaries and three sixes. It was the third half-century of Khadka in the final of the national One-Day tournament. Earlier, opener Paresh Lohani (25 runs) and Subash Khakurel put up 60 runs opening stand.
APF lost its second wicket in quick interval but Gyanendra Malla (23 runs) put up 36-run partnership for the third wicket with Khakurel. Khakurel scored 60 runs off 73 balls before getting out in 23.3 overs when team was at 139/4. It was Khakurel´s third half-century in the tournament that concluded on Friday. Khadka and Vesawkar have put up an unbeaten 88-run partnership for the fifth wicket to seal the match.
Sushan Bhari claimed two wickets while Moinuddin Khan and Bibek Chaudhary took a wicket each.
Bhairahawa´s Khan was adjudged the man-of-the-final.
Winner APF received a check of Rs 1,50,000 along with the trophy while runner-up Bhairahawa bagged Rs 1,00,000.
Sagar Pun of Bhairahawa was adjudged the player-of-the-series and received Rs 20,000. Pun scored 275 runs in the six matches and also claimed six wickets in the tournament. Pun has scored a century and a half during the tournament. His best bowling figure in the tournament was three for 12 runs.
Considering the league round performance, Amit Shrestha of Birgunj was awarded as the best batsman of the tournament.
Shrestha, who had scored 248 runs in the three league-round matches, received Rs 15,000. Likewise, APF´s Basant Regmi was adjudged the best bowler of the tournament. Regmi, who took 12 wickets in the four league-round matches, also received Rs 15,000.
Bhairahawa´s Khan, who scored 306 runs from the six matches of the tournament, was announced the emerging player of the tournament.
Finance Minister Barsa Man Pun, National Sports Council Member Secretary Yuvaraj Lama, APF AIG Durja Kumar Rai, Cricket Association Nepal Vice President Sriniwas Rana, Acting CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Diwakar Poudel and Unit Chief of Barun Beverage Rohit Kohli gave away the prizes to the winners.