Thinley Namgay   

Paro Challenger beat U-19 Rebels by six wickets in the final of the U-19 Super 50 Cup cricket tournament at Jigmethang ground in Thimphu yesterday.

The U-19 Rebels won the toss and opted to bat first. At the end of the first inning, the Rebels made 78 runs, with all wickets out in 20.4 overs of the 30 overs match.

However, in the second inning, Paro Challenger acquired 80 runs with just short of four wickets in 22.4 overs.  Paro Challenger won the game by six wickets.

In the league round on December 23 of last year, the Rebels humbled the Paro Challenger by 40 runs.

The U-19 Rebels had won all the five games played in the league. However, their game against Punakha CC on January 11 had to be cancelled due to snow.

In their last league game on January 11, the U-19 Rebels defeated Wangdue CC by 225 runs. The Rebels made 305 runs, losing 10 wickets in 38.5 overs. However, Wangdue CC could only manage 80 runs in 17.5 overs, losing all the wickets.

Paro Challenger won four games out of five in the league. The team also had to cancel the game with Punakha CC due to snow. On January 9, Paro Challenger won against Wangdue CC by 97 runs in their last league match.

The Rebels earned 11 points in the league, and Paro Challenger got nine.

Paro Challenger coach Sonam Lhamo said: “It was wonderful to witness my team give their best in the final. In the first game, we lost to the Rebels by 40 runs, and we nearly lost in the league. Boys fought well with the Wangdue CC.”

“I was happy that awards for the best spinner, the best fast bowler, best fielder, most promising player, and the best batsman were won by my players,” she said.

Organised by Bhutan Cricket, seven teams from Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, and Wangdue participated. One of the tournament’s objectives was to provide the players with the experience of playing a 50 overs match.

Coach of U-19 Rebels, Yeshi Choden, said: “Unlike in the previous games, my players couldn’t do well at batting yesterday. The other reason for the loss could be overconfidence of the players, from defeating Paro Challenger in the league.”

“I was expecting a win, as we led the league round. My expectation in the final was to make 250 runs in 30 overs,” Yeshi Choden said.

The winner was awarded a cash prize of Nu 100,000, and runners-up, Nu 50,000 with a trophy.

Tournament coordinator Tshering Penjore said that the coaching department has selected 30 players for the U-19 national squad from seven teams after the tournament, and the players will undergo three trial matches.

“From that, 20 of them will be selected and we’ll take them to Gelephu for a month to train,” Tshering Penjore said.

The selected players will participate in the upcoming international tournament in September in Oman.

Tshering Penjore said that the main hindrance for this tournament was bad weather. “Some teams only played 28 overs.”

This is the maiden 50 overs game conducted for the U-19, and will now be an annual event.

The participating teams played for free. The tournament began on December 20.