Kathmandu Kings-XI defeated defending champions Lalitpur Patriots in the opening match of the Bajaj Pulsar Everest Premier League here at the Tribhuvan University Stadium today.

Batting first, the Patriots scored 157-8 in their allotted 20 overs before the Kings raced to 160-3 with 34 balls to spare, riding on scintillating half centuries from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and player-ofthe-match Ryan Burl.

Chasing a modest target, the Kings lost opener Subash Khakurel (naught) and Amit Shrestha (four) - both run out - with just 12 runs on the board before Gurbaz and Burl steadied the innings with a 66-run partnership for the third wicket. Gurbaz was dismissed in the 11th over after scoring 59 off 36 balls that included four each fours and sixes.

Burl and Raju Rijal then took the team home adding 72 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket partnership.

Burl remained unbeaten on 73 off just 34 balls and he hit three boundaries and seven sixes, while Rijal scored 13- ball 19 not out with the help of two fours. Pawan Sarraf took a wicket for the Patriots.

Earlier, the Patriots, who were hit hard after skipper Gyanendra Malla withdrew two days before the tournament, struggled to build partnerships.

They lost skipper Kushal Bhurtel in the first ball of the innings and were reduced to 7-3 in 1.3 overs.

Shankar Rana (14) and Pawan Sarraf added 56 runs for the fourth wicket before the former was dismissed in the 10th over. Sarraf then combined with Yogendra Singh Karki to share a 62-run partnership for the fifth wicket to help the team post a fighting total. Sarraf top scored with 44-ball 61 that included five fours and four sixes, while Karki struck three sixes in his 20-ball 33.

Ranjung Mikyo Dorji (17) and Narayan Joshi (12) also contributed in double figures for the Patriots. Jitendra Mukhiya was the pick of the Kings bowlers taking 4-18, while Gulsan Jha and Ryan Burl claimed two wickets each. Interestingly, two superstars of the Kings - former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi and globe-trotting Nepali legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane - returned empty handed. Afridi conceded 32 runs in his four-over spell, while Lamichhane yielded 44 from four overs.

On Sunday, Biratnagar Warriors will take on Chitwan Tigers, while Bhairahawa Gladiators face Pokhara Rhinos. A total of six franchise-based teams are taking part in the tournament. Top two teams will received five million rupees and Rs 1.5 million respectively.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.