Biratnagar Kings advance to final of DPL

Shushil Kandel of Biratnagar Kings bowls against Rupandehi Challengers. Photo: THT
Shushil Kandel of Biratnagar Kings bowls against Rupandehi Challengers. Photo: THT

DHANGADHI: Biratnagar Kings defeated Rupandehi Challengers by 29 runs to advance to the final of the Sagarmatha Cement Dhangadhi Premier League played at the SSP Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Batting first after winning the toss in the first qualifier, Biratnagar posted 128-9 in 20 overs before Rupandehi were packed for 99 runs. Biratnagar will now face the winners of the second qualifier match on Saturday.

Rupandehi, who finished at the top of the table in league round, will get a second chance for a place in the final and will face Dhangadhi Team Chauraha, who defeated Kathmandu Goldens by six wickets in the eliminator.

Biratnagar made a disastrous start when they lost opener Prakash Bista for a duck in the second ball of the innings, caught behind by Prakash KC off Bikram Sob.

Another opener Amit Shrestha (10) and Aasif Sheikh then added 21 runs for the second wicket before Dipesh Shrestha had the former caught by Krishna Karki in the fifth over.

Sheikh and Dipendra Singh Airee steadied the Biratnagar innings with a 39-run partnership for the third wicket. Sheikh scored 36 off 41 balls hitting three fours and two sixes, while Airee hit a boundary in his 18-ball 13.

Biratnagar lost three wickets in the space of 15 runs to be 76-5 inside 14 overs. Skipper Sharad Vesawkar struck two sixes in his 22-ball 24, while Pawan Sarraf scored a six-ball 16 hitting two sixes to post a fighting total.

Skipper Shakti Gauchan was the pick of the Rupandehi bowlers taking 3-16 from four overs, while Dipesh Shrestha took 2-16. Bikram Sob, Krishna Karki and Shahab Alam claimed one wicket each.

In reply, Rupandehi batsmen faltered straight for the second match and were packed for a below par total. Puspa Thapa -- who scored 22 off 24 balls hitting three fours and a six, and Bikram Sob -- who struck two fours and a six in his 16-ball 23 --were the only two batsmen to score in double figures.

Man-of-the-match Sushil Kandel was the chief destroyer as he claimed 4-15 from four overs including two in the final over, while Sandeep Lamichhane took 2-11.

Pawan Sarraf, Jitendra Mukhiya, Dipendra Singh Airee and Prakash Bista took one wicket each.

Biratnagar skipper Vesawkar credited his team members for the victory. "Everyone has contributed for the team and that helped us in winning the match," said Vesawkar.

In the eliminator match, Kathmandu scored 123-6 in 20 overs before Dhangadhi reached 127-4 with eight balls to spare.

Kathmandu made a positive strike with openers Naresh Budhayer and Shubhendu Pandey adding 41 runs in 8.3 overs. Amar Singh Routela struck twice in two balls in the ninth over.

Routela made the first breakthrough when he had Pandey (11) caught behind by Raju Rijal, while the medium pacer bowled Kathmandu skipper for the first-ball duck.

Saurav Khanel then bowled Budhayer to reduce Kathmandu to 45-3. Budhayer struck five fours in his 38-ball 29. Lalit Rajbanshi took two wickets in two balls in the 12th over to put Kathmandu under more pressure.

He trapped Sompal Kami leg before wicket in the second ball and had Manjeet Shrestha caught by Aarif Sheikh in the next delivery.

Sumit Maharjan and Rohit Kumar Paudel the added 51 runs for the sixth wicket to take the team past three-figure mark. Maharjan hit four boundaries and a six in his 30-ball 31, while Paudel remained unbeaten on 31 off 29 balls that included five boundaries.

Rajbanshi (2-20) and Routela (2-21) shared four wickets between them, while Ram Naresh Giri and Sourav Khanal took one wicket each.

In reply, Dhangadhi made a poor start when opener Raju Rijal was run out with 12 runs on the board in two overs. Anil Mandal and Prithu Baskota then added 64 runs for the second wicket in 58 balls before Santosh Bhatta bowled the latter in the 12th over.

Baskota hit two fours and a six, while man-of-the-match Mandal struck four boundaries and two sixes in his 49-ball 44. Skipper Paras Khadka scored 20-ball 12.

Dhangadhi needed 19 runs from the last three overs and Aarif Sheikh struck Sompal Kami for two sixes and a four in the 18th over to take the team within two runs of victory. Sheikh struck two fours and as many sixes in his 11-ball 22 not out.

Santosh Bhatta took 2-18 from four overs, while Manjeet Shrestha claimed one wicket for Kathmandu.