2018 PM Cup Review – The Final 13 by Manish Ghimire
Having a strong domestic structure for cricket in Emerging nations forms the backbone of their existence. In Nepal’s case, an emerging cricketing nation from Asia, has achieved a lot of progress with minimal number of domestic games played over the course of a season.
Nepal’s cricket board remains under suspension and players hardly get a chance to play more domestic tournaments and matches (Private T20 Leagues are the flavour of the season for now). But with the efforts made from National Sports Council (NSC), The PM Cup, the first major one-day tournament after securing ODI status in World Cup qualifiers in Nepal has concluded successfully.
Before a long International schedule starts for Nepal, such kind of tournament was very much needed for some kind of exposure for the players in the longer version of white-ball cricket. PM Cup has provided a platform for young players an opportunity to perform and stake a claim for selection in the National team and also an opportunity for some of the senior players, who were axed from the National team due to bad form and injuries, to make a comeback.
Altogether 150 Players represented their respected teams in the 10-team tournament comprising of the Departmental teams (Armed Police Force Club, Tribhuvan Army Club, National Police Club), who looked the strongest as compared to the other 7 provincial team’s, due to the participation of experienced players, currently representing National team and other domestic seasoned players in the country. Provincial teams struggled as expected against the stronger Departmental team’s, which clearly showed the lack of experience amongst the chosen players in playing the 50-overs format of the game.
Only provincial team to reach the knock-out phase of the tournament was province 5, led by the Nepal veteran, Shakti Prasad Gauchan and looked much solid and balanced team compared to other 6 provincial teams.
Opening slot has always been a perennial threat for Nepal national team in International tournaments. Few players have gave good performances to be considered for the opening slot, which has been one of the plus point of the tournament in 2018. Players like Subash Khakurel, Sunil Dhamala, Pradeep Singh Airee and Sagar Pun scored consistently in the tournament. Few of them may make comeback into the national side considering their form and consistent problems seen at the top order in the current Nepal set-up. Binod Bhandari was also in fluent touch , In the whole tournament and was striking at the strike rate of nearly 200.
Overall, quite a number of capped players have done well along with youngsters, who have also impressed a lot and have shown their capabilities in order to get picked in the closed camp for selection in the National sides as well. It didn’t help the fact that the absence of National players like Skipper Paras Khadka, Sharad Veshwakar, Sandeep Lamichhane and Gyanendra Malla took away much shine from the tournament at the onset, but the players taking part in the scorching heat at both the grounds, tried their level best to show their best performances for their respective teams.
With many players showing the potential, there will be competition for spots in the bench strength among all of them, which is always a positive signs for the future of Nepali cricket.
Having said that, here is the Final 13 for 2018 PM Cup:
1. Hari Bahadur Chauhan become the first player to score a century and pick-up a hat-trick in the same match in any of Nepal´s domestic matches played so far in any format. His score of 100 off 115 balls came playing against Province 1.
2. Highest individual score of the tournament was 158 by Pradeep Singh Airee. He scored them off 135 balls, playing against Province 2.
3. Subash Khakurel and Pradeep Singh Airee were the only batsmen to score century in the same innings for the same team. Both scored the centuries playing against Province 2.
4. 231-runs partnership for the second wicket was the highest runs partnership for any wicket during the tournament among all the team’s. This feat was achieved by Subash Khakurel and Pradeep Singh Airee against Province 2. This is also the second-best partnership for any wicket in Nepal´s domestic cricket history so far.
5. Mulpani Cricket ground and Tribhuvan University cricket ground hosted all the matches played during the tournament. The average first-innings total at Mulpani was 142 runs with average wicket loss at 9, while at Tribhuvan University ground, it was 235 runs with average wicket loss at 8.
6. 339/6 was the highest team total of the tournament which was set by Army Police Force team against Province 2, whereas 55/10 was the lowest team total made by Province 6 against Province 5.
7. Chandra BC recorded the best bowling figures for any bowler (pace/spin) in a match with a spell of 10-1-41-6.
8. Largest victory in terms of runs was 174 runs by Tribhuvan Army Club against Province 7 and largest victory in terms of wickets and ball remaining was 9 wickets with 236 balls remaining by Province 5 (no points guessing who the opponents were).
9. Most extra runs conceded in an innings was 41 runs (includes 3 byes, 3 leg byes, 34 wides and 1 no-ball) by Province 10. In 19 matches, batsmen crossed 50+ score 28 times; whereas scores between 50 and 99 was achieved 24 times with 4 scores of 100+ during the tournament. In total, 15 fifties/3 centuries were scored from Departmental team players and 9 fifties/1 century were scored from provincial team players.
10. Highest runs scorer of the tournament was Pradeep Singh Airee, with 315 runs from 6 innings at an average of 52.5 with a strike-rate of 90.51, which includes a century and a match-winning half-century in the final.
11. Highest wicket-taker of the tournament was Sushan Bhari, who picked up 12 wickets from 6 matches at an average of 9.16 and best bowling figures of 4/15 with overall economy of 2.72 runs per over.
12. Player of the Tournament was Sagar Pun, who scored 211 runs with the bat and picked-up 11 wickets with the ball.
13. Hari Bahadur Chauhan was the emerging player of the tournament with 154 runs scored from 4 matches.
For a look at some alternate stats on 2018 PM Cup, please click here.