Thinley Namgay     

Punakha CC won by nine wickets against the Druk Knights in the ongoing under-19 (U-19) Super 50 Cup cricket tournament at Jigmethang cricket grounds in Thimphu yesterday.

Druk Knights won the toss in the game of two-innings or 50 overs and opted to bat first, but it was an easy win for Punakha CC as the team acquired 35 runs with the fall of a wicket in 5.1 overs. Druk Knights could only manage 34 runs with the loss of all 10 wickets in 15 overs.

Organised by Bhutan Cricket, seven teams from Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, and Wangdue are participating. Twelve games were completed as of yesterday out of 22.

This is the maiden 50 overs game ever conducted for the U-19.

Bhutan Cricket Press Officer Tandin Wangchuk said the clubs were provided with free entry this time.

He said Bhutan Cricket would select talented players from this tournament to form a national U-19 squad to prepare for the upcoming international tournament in September in Oman.

“After selecting the players, we will take them to Gelephu for a month-long training camp,” Tandin Wangchuk said.

Tournament coordinator Tshering Penjor said the upcoming tournament was supposed to take place in Thailand in March but was postponed to September by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

As per the ICC notification, considering the travel restrictions and long quarantine period on return for a few participating countries, the ICC had to postpone it.

Tshering Penjor said the ongoing tournament was aligned with ICC requirements, but only a few teams could participate this year. “Since it was an ad hoc tournament, not many teams came forward as they didn’t have time to prepare.”

He said it will be an annual tournament from now on.

As of yesterday, Paro Challenger was leading with six points from four games. U-19 Rebels also have six points from three games, but they are behind Paro Challenger due to Net Run Rate (NRR).

Paro Challenger maintained an NRR of 4.337, but the U-19 Rebels have an NRR of 2.985. The U-19 True Warriors and Druk Knights have yet to earn a point. These two teams have lost all three and four matches, respectively.

Tshering Penjor said there are challenges in conducting a tournament like this.

He said Bhutan Cricket does not own a proper cricket ground in Thimphu, which is the main factor. “Bhutan Cricket is organising a tournament at Jigmethang, which is 9kms away from the main town.”

He said teams are coming from different dzongkhags. “So, it is quite far away, even for teams coming from Thimphu.”

The tournament began on December 20, and it will end on January 15. Only one match a day is being played.

Wangdue CC will face Dechencholing Nazhoen today.