By a Staff Reporter
Kathmandu – Lumbini Province has reached the final of the U-19 National Cricket Tournament on Wednesday riding on a 141-run partnership between Skipper Dev Khanal and Aakash Tripathi as well as an outstanding performance in bowling from spinner Bashir Ahmad.
Lumbini secured a place in the final by thrashing Province 2 in the last match of the league round to stay atop the standings.
Lumbini met the target of 169 runs in 26.5 overs losing only one wicket during the match held at TU Cricket Ground, Kirtipur. Opening batsman and skipper Dev Khanal scored an unbeaten 62 runs off 89 balls which included six boundaries and two sixes. Another opener Aakash Tripathi scored 62 runs including nine fours off 57 balls. Wicket keeper Prajjwal Thapa remained not out on 13 runs with three boundaries from 11 balls as the team met the target with ease.
Earlier, Province 2, which was invited to bat first after losing the toss, was bundled out in 39.5 overs with 168 runs on board. Province 2 opener Santosh Karki was the highest scorer for his team with 82 runs off 92 balls including seven boundaries. However, the team was restricted to 168 runs as other batsmen could not perform well. Gulshan Jha scored 32 runs off 23 balls that included three boundaries and two sixes while Aadil Ansari was not out on 22 runs. Captain Bivek Yadav was sent to the pavilion after scoring just one run.
Bashir Ahmad of Lumbini Province took five wickets including three maidens in 7.5 overs giving away 24 runs. Bishal Bikram KC took three wickets while Rahul Chaudhary bagged two.
Lumbini had thrashed Gandaki by 9 wickets in its first match but it lost to Karnali Province with a wide margin of 140 runs in the second match. However, Lumbini bounced back with four consecutive wins to secure its place in the final. Lumbini leads the table with 10 points from six matches including five wins and a defeat.
Sudur Paschin is second with three wins and two defeats after five matches followed by Province 1 with three victories and two defeats from equal number of matches. One of these two teams are likely to secure a place in the final.