POKHARA, Feb 3: Batting at No 9, Ram Naresh Giri scored an unbeaten 27 runs to guide Region No 2 (Birgunj) to a thrilling one-wicket victory over Region No 8 (Pokhara) in the Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament in Pokhara on Sunday.
Chasing a 141-run target at the Pokhara Stadium, Birgunj was reeling at 78/7 in 26.4 overs when Giri came to the crease. He shared a 31-run partnership with No 3 Bikram Basnet (28 runs off 89 balls) for the eighth wicket to anchor the innings and take Birgunj to 143/9 in 44.5 overs. Giri faced 48 balls for his unbeaten 27 runs that included four boundaries.
Earlier, Basnet and Suraj Prasad Kurmi (28 runs off 28 balls) put up a 33-run partnership for the third wicket. Opener Aarif Sheikh scored 25 runs off 49 balls for Birgunj.
Dipesh Shrestha claimed three wickets and Nischal Pandey took two wickets for Pokhara.
Earlier, Pokhara was all out for 140 runs in 41.5 overs as openers Akash Thapa (19 runs off 45 balls) and Anil Gurung put up a 44-run stand. Gurung scored 28 runs off 65 balls with four boundaries. Birgunj bowled 31 extras.
Nabin Yadav dismissed three Pokhara batsmen while Avinash Karn, Irshad Ahmad and Aarif Sheikh claimed two wickets each.
Ram Naresh Giri, who claimed a wicket also, was adjudged the man-of-the-match.
With the win, Birgunj has two points from two matches in the group that includes Region No 4 (Bhairahawa), Region No 7 (Janakpur) and Pokhara. Bhairahawa has four points from two matches while Pokhara has two points from two matches but is ahead of Birgunj on the basis of superior net run rate. Janakpur is yet to open its account.
Birgunj will take on Janakpur on Monday.