Sheikh slams ton as Tez win maiden title

Kathmandu, October 3

Aasif Sheikh scored a scintillating century as Panchakanya Tez beat Colors X-Factors by 40 runs in the final of the Wai Wai Everest Premier League here at the TU Stadium today.

Batting first after skipper Sharad Vesawkar won the toss, Tez scored 171-4 in their allotted 20 overs before packing X-Factors for 131 runs in 17.3 overs. Tez reached to the mammoth total after opener Sheikh played a fiery knock of unbeaten 111 off just 64 balls.

Sheikh also became the first batsman to score a century in the league, while Vishal Warriors skipper Paras Khadka missed the opportunity by just one run against Sagarmatha Legends. This was also first ton in Sheikh’s career. “I am happy for scoring my career’s first century,” said Sheikh. “I had not expected such innings in the final match. I built the innings by singles and doubles and it was the vital match for us as we had won all five matches in the league. I was fortunate to perform today,” said Sheikh, adding that the tournament was a huge booster for him to knock the national team camp.

Tez had a disastrous start of their innings with skipper Vesawkar (two) being caught by X-Factors skipper Gyanendra Malla off Avinash Karn in the first over itself with just two runs on the board. Karan KC (five), who was caught by Siddhant Lohani off Amar Singh Routela in the last ball of the sixth over, added 31 runs for the second wicket with Sheikh, who was dealing with boundaries at the other end and was also able to rotate the strikes at the same time.

Player-of-the-final Sheikh added another 27 runs with Prithu Baskota (eight) for the third wicket and shared a 47-run stand for the fourth wicket with his elder brother Aarif, who hit 20-ball 23 with the help of two fours and a six. Sheikh then added 64 runs with Sonu Tamang (12) for the unbroken fifth wicket. The Tez innings revolved around the knock of Sheikh who hammered seven boundaries and eight sixes. He reached the magical figures off just 59 balls following three consecutive sixes off Routela.

Karn, Routela, Sanjam Regmi and Yogendra Singh Karki pocketed a wicket each for X-Factors, who failed to achieve the target despite skipper Malla’s quick fire 32-ball 47. Malla also shared a 74-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Rajesh Pulami, who was the second best with 37 off 35 balls. Malla blasted four boundaries and two sixes, while Pulami hit two sixes.

Tez bowler Sushil Kandel made initial breakthrough by sending Fajlur Rahman for a duck in the third ball of the innings when X-Factors had added just three runs on the board. Kandel also had opener Hari Shankar Sah (12) caught by Dipendra Singh Airee in the third over. X-Factors were reduced to 24-3 in the 3.2 overs before Malla and Pulami put them on track and anchored the innings.

However, Airee broke the partnership by taking crucial wicket of Malla, trapped leg before, in the 13th over and Pulami’s wicket in the 15th over by Karan KC ended their remaining hopes. Pulami had hit KC for two straight sixes and he lost control while trying for the third and was caught in the long off by Aarif Sheikh. KC picked up three wickets for Tez, while Kandel and Vesawkar grabbed two each. Bhuvan Karki and Airee took a wicket apiece.

“The success did not come comfortably and everybody put in their best efforts,” said Tez skipper Vesawkar, who lauded Aasif’s innings. “His knock was the differentiated the teams in today’s match,” he added. “I had asked team members to enjoy the match without taking much pressures as we had played previous five matches as finals. All credit goes to Sheikh who hit century on the hard pitch.”

X-Factors skipper Malla said losing three crucial wickets in Karan KC’s single over was the key. KC dismissed Siddhant Lohani, Yogendra Sing Karki and Pulami in the 15th over. “Match was going well until Rajesh Pulami got out and we suffered a setback after we lost two more in the same over,” said Malla, adding: “The event provided cricketers a platform to display their talents at the time when there were no domestic events. Players like Aasif Sheikh needed such platform and such types of event will help us in strengthening our bench. We can have a pool of 50 to 100 players.”

Champions Tez earned Rs 500,000 along with trophy. Similarly, Jagadamba Rhinos’ Sompal Kami was declared the player-of-the-tournament and received a Suzuki Gixxer motorbike, while Aasif was named the TB Shah emerging player-of-the-tournament and got a CG 22” LED TV. He also received a Lenovo mobile for being the man-of-the-match. Special guest of the event, former India cricket team skipper Ajay Jadeja, Chaudhary Group’s Managing Director Nirvana Chaudhary, MD of Panchakanya Group Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, Chief Executive Officer of VG Automobiles Chiranjibi Shah among others handed over the prizes of the event organised by Zohra Sports Management under sponsorship of Wai Wai.